HMRC raises £160 billion in tax avoidance clampdown

JIM ARMITAGE
Data leaks: the Cayman Islands featured in the Paradise Papers

HMRC has raised £160 billion in additional tax revenue since clamping down on exotic avoidance methods highlighted by recent data leaks such as the Panama and Paradise Papers, Budget documents showed.

Treasury documentation shows the government has invested £2 billion since 2010 in anti-tax avoidance work, peaking in 2010, when £900 million of investment raised £7 billion in extra revenue.

In the Budget, it said it was to invest a further £155 million this year to recoup £2.3 billion in unpaid taxes, suggesting HMRC will have to deliver more bang for the Treasury’s buck. Aidan Sutton, partner at PWC, questioned whether there was a limitless amount of unpaid taxes that could be claimed after the successes of previous anti-avoidance campaigns: “If you do the arithmetic, this is an ambitious return for the investment.

“With tax avoidance, there has to be a law of diminishing returns.” The figures were released as the government announced new weapons in the taxman’s armoury.

A total of 18 new anti-avoidance initiatives were revealed, including bigger resources to tackle those marketing the most aggressive tax avoidance schemes.

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