HMRC record £29bn haul as tax avoidance crackdown bites

HM Revenue & Customs has collected a record £29 billion from its crackdown on tax evasion and avoidance and organised crime, reports CityWire.

The figure was revealed in the tax office's annual report and accounts, which also showed it collected £574.9 billion in tax revenues, a £38.1 billion increase on the previous year and the seventh consecutive annual record.

Over the the last six years HMRC said it had brought more than 500 serious organised criminals to justice. Investigations and enforcement action against organised crime generated or protected £3.2 billion in compliance yield in 2016-17.

On top of this it handled more 1,200 tax cases in courts and tribunals, winning 83% and protecting £15 billion in tax revenues.

The £29 billion collected from this stricter approach amounts to £1,000 for every household, pointed out HMRC chief executive and permanent secretary Jon Thompson.  He said the money will be spent on public services.

'We have also strengthened our grip on the minority who deliberately try to cheat the system and continue to pursue those who refuse to pay what they owe, on behalf of the honest majority,' Thompson said.

'The message is clear to those who try to not pay their fair and legal share: there is nowhere left to hide.'

HMRC said its performance last year had surpassed targets 'across the board', with 'investment in supporting the vast majority of honest taxpayers' in particular paying dividends.

It highlighted that new online services are making it easier for customers to get advice and support, such as completing their Self Assessment, and has led to record numbers going digital.

HMRC said it continues to develop increasingly 'sophisticated and world-leading techniques', to further close the net and make it harder for tax dodgers to operate.

HMRC executive chair and permanent secretary Edward Troup said: 'Our ability to collect the money required to fund the UK’s public services is, of course, the ultimate yardstick by which we will be measured, but the public rightly judge us on the quality of service we provide to the overwhelming majority of people in the UK who are honest and pay the right amount of tax on time.

'Our continued focus on giving our customers the service level they deserve is paying dividends. There are now quick and simple online tools to allow people to deal with their taxes or tax credits anywhere, anytime and the best phone service in years for those wanting to call us.'

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