Danny McCance 24 Sep 2018 10:23am

HMRC increases criminal investigations yield by a third

The amount the Revenue makes from criminal investigations has increased by 31% over the past five years

From 2013 to 2014 HMRC made an average of £1.1m per investigation. That rose to £1.9m in both 2015/16 and 2016/17 and increased to £2.5m last year, according to accountancy group UHY Hacker Young.

“HMRC has vast swathes of data at its disposal as well as increasingly sophisticated tools to analyse this material and track people down,” said UHY Hacker Young partner Sean Glancy. He predicted that the take from investigations will continue to climb.

Last year the Revenue investigated 140 individuals for offshore tax evasion offenses, including four arrests and six interviews relating solely to the Panama Papers leak.

In February, HMRC confirmed that is was expecting to receive £100m in additional taxes from this investigation. It took £5.4bn from all its serious fraud investigations in the last year.

In the last year HMRC also increased its tax take from high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals to £1.2m, from £919m in 2016/17, partially due to criminal investigations that enable higher levies and tougher sanctions, according to UHY.

“The truth is everyone must pay what they owe but we want to avoid penalties for those who want to cooperate," an HMRC spokesperson said.

“That’s why we are urging UK taxpayers with assets or investments abroad to check whether they have UK tax to pay regardless of receiving contact from HMRC. From 1 October, new, substantially higher penalties will apply for those who have failed to declare tax to HMRC on foreign income and assets," they added.