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Aggressive activity now could cost HMRC in the future

Aggressive activity now could cost HMRC in the future

HMRC is rubbing its hands together in glee after increasing the amount it collects from its compliance work.

In the last 12 months, HMRC’s income from investigations into tax avoidance and tax evasion rose to £16.5 billion. That’s a 37% increase on the last financial year.

Accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young said the increase was a result of the taxman adopting a more aggressive approach. Enquiries into corporation tax provided the Revenue with £4.6 billion, whilst VAT inspectors brought in £6.2 billion – up 92% on the previous year.

According to UHY Hacker Young, the government believes that if it keeps on investing in tax inspectors, the extra money will continue to flood in. In reality, a lot of businesses settle up because they feel intimidated by HMRC.

Roy Maugham said the Revenue’s aggressive stance is going some way towards helping reduce the budget deficit. However, the downside of this is that the Exchequer will find it harder to work out the total cost of compliance and the UK will become a less attractive place to do business.

A lot of UK companies have already moved their headquarters overseas to countries like Ireland, Malta and Switzerland, he continued. They have done this to escape the high business taxes in the UK and HMRC’s aggressive attitude to tax collection.

The Treasury could lose out in the long run as the lost revenues from companies relocating overseas outweigh the revenue brought in from increased compliance activity, Maugham concluded.

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