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HMRC’s High Net Worth Unit rakes in £247 million in 2 years

HMRC’s High Net Worth Unit rakes in £247 million in 2 years

Two years ago, HMRC set up the High Net Worth Unit to look into the personal tax affairs of the UK’s wealthiest citizens; a move which appears to have paid dividends.

Since the unit was set up, it has recovered a total of £247 million; £85 million in 2009/11 and £162 million last year. Initial projections were that the unit would yield between £50 million and £100 million every year so it is already exceeding expectations.

David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, explained that everybody must pay their fair share of tax, and by working in conjunction with tax agents and online accountants, the Revenue’s HNWU team has been able to make sure the complicated tax affairs of the rich are dealt with accurately.

Meanwhile, HMRC has been criticised for its tactics over the issuance of penalty notices to employers who are late submitting tax returns.

In a recent tax tribunal case it was revealed that the Revenue did not issue a penalty notice until the taxpayer had already amassed fines worth £400. If the penalty notice had been issued in the first month, the fine would only have been £100.

Some employers genuinely forget to submit their return and higher penalties are disproportionate when an early reminder could be enough to inform them of their mistake, said Rob Durrant-Walker from the York Office of UHY Hacker Young.

He went on to say that HMRC should be concentrating on making sure everybody pays the correct amount of tax and helping them to do so rather than adding on extra charges.

The Revenue is also implementing a new penalty regime for self-assessment taxpayers who file their returns late. In an important change to the previous rules, failure to submit a tax return will result in an automatic £100 fine, even if the taxpayer does not owe any money.

© 2011 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Image: Washing Machines by mikecogh

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