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HMRC investigates third of UK’s richest over £1.9bn tax bill


Investigations have been launched against a third of Britain’s richest individuals by HM Revenue & Customs.

Public spending watchdog the National Audit Office has announced that the taxman is trying to recover an estimated £1.9bn from 6,500 high net worth individuals.

HMRC recovered around £416m from the group last year, who all have wealth of more than £20m.

Special HMRC liasons will work with each of the individuals over the £1.9bn that is “at risk” of not being received.

NAO head Amyas Morse says: “The tax affairs of the wealthiest in society are complex, making it harder for HMRC to ensure that they are paying the right amount of tax. HMRC’s specialist team gives it a better understanding of the tax affairs and behaviours of these taxpayers. While the yields from HMRC’s work in this area have increased it needs to evaluate what approaches are the most effective and to understand the outcomes it achieves.”

Though HMRC collected around £4.3bn from him net worth individuals in 2014/15, the NAO says over a billion may be caught up in tax avoidance schemes.

According to the NAO, high net worth individuals make up 1 per cent of users of tax avoidance schemes, but account for 10 per cent of the tax at risk.

HMRC warns that its latest enquiries, which cover an average of four issues to investigate per taxpayer, could take years to resolve.

The taxman’s high net worth unit has been running since 2009, and HMRC said it could conduct a further analysis to increase the team’s impact in future.


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There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Of course the rich can afford the very best advice. Is this sufficient reason making their lives a misery without positive proof that they are diddling? I wonder how much HMRC will recoup of this £1.9 billion and how much it will cost to recoup it.

    If I was a betting man I’d bet that it won’t be very cost effective. What it will do is alienate these people who by definition are the largest contributors to GDP and employment. Many of these won’t need much of an excuse to leave – particularly if the Brexit negotiations are unfavourable.

  2. Agree with above. Personally I also believe it’s just politics to appease joe public. In a few years there’ll be a furore in the press about the pittance recovered and the huge cost, failed prosecutions etc etc etc!!!!!

  3. Once again, HMRC spinning the PR cogs to make themselves look good by bullying people irrespective of wealth into paying tax that isn’t legally owed.

    The vast sums of monies claimed to be delivered by the vile, suicide causing APNs has been reported directly as income by HMRC as part of the tax avoidance clampdown on EBTS, LLPs & Trusts, yet most of it hasn’t been collect (because they have no legal basis) and they seemed to have failed to declare publically in the same manner, how much they’ve had to repay.

    Why don’t the stop focusing on trying to score points with the public and focus on those who EVADE tax instead of picking off softer individual targets to get their bonuses

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