Jessica Fino 18 Feb 2019 11:02am

St Albans named UK’s top tax avoidance town

St Albans has been named the town with the highest number of people admitting not paying taxes in the UK

According to UHY Hacker Young, there were 24 disclosures of unpaid tax per 100,000 population last year in St Albans, followed by 23 in Edinburgh and 19 in Slough.

Bournemouth, Milton Keynes and London followed with 15 disclosures each.

The firm explained that St Albans is home to many City workers due to its good travel connections, with average house prices exceeding £500,000. Some famous residents include actor Rupert Grint, who recently lost a tax avoidance case against HMRC.

Research carried out by the firm found that England and Wales saw 11 disclosures per 100,000 people on average last year, with a total of approximately 6,380 disclosures made.

Andrew Snowdon, partner at UHY, said, “Tax avoidance is not restricted to super-rich neighbourhoods of London such as Kensington and Chelsea. A lot of middle-income earners have been sucked into tax schemes over the last two decades.

“Some very normal commuter belt towns like Slough are minor hotspots for admitting unpaid tax which may reflect their residents’ views on the rising tax burden in areas like income tax and SDLT.”

Snowdon cautioned that HMRC takes a “much more lenient approach” if a disclosure is made unprompted.

“As HMRC continues to beef up its compliance teams and data resources, there is increasingly nowhere to hide for those with unpaid tax bills.

“Making a disclosure it almost always the best way to deal with an irregular tax position but it’s important to seek professional advice before doing so in order to get the best possible settlement.”

HMRC has several specialist teams dedicated high net worth individuals, UHY said, including the new Offshore Corporate and Wealthy Unit which launched 800 investigations last year.