Increase in the number of prosecutions for tax evasion
Recently reported numbers for criminal prosecutions for tax evasion show an increase of almost a third; 795 prosecutions in 2013-14, up from 617 in 2012-13.
Interestingly though, HMRC set a target of 1,165 prosecutions for 2014/15 as part of its increased focus on tax evasion. This suggests that HMRC will have to increase substantially the number of prosecutions this year to hit that target. The financial secretary to the Treasury said the numbers show that extra funding in this area is producing results; “These figures send a clear message that we will not put up with tax evasion."
It appears that the increasing volume of criminal prosecutions is one of the measures by which HMRC now judges success. The numbers could well rise further if the proposals to make non-declaration of offshore funds an automatic criminal offence are adopted. Currently for criminal sanctions to apply HMRC has to prove that people who have undeclared income offshore intended to evade tax.
Date: 24th October, 2014
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