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£100m in tax evasion revenue hauled in by HMRC

Tax evasion doesn’t pay – unless you’re Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, as it revealed that it’s recovered more than £100 million in lost funds since 2011.

Sometimes even the taxman comes out on top, and if it’s any indication this is one of those times. The whole tax evasion and tax avoidance crackdown that’s been going on over the past year or so has reaped huge rewards for HMRC, though for what it’s worth even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

There are over 50 HMRC task forces currently hard at work investigating cases of tax fraud, and these investigators are calling tax cheats on the carpet in a major way. This tax year saw some £32 million collected in just the first six months, while the tax authority says that the 2012-2013 financial year saw an additional £48 million. On top of that, the first six months of the 2011-2012 tax year saw around £24 million liberated from tightwads.

Of course, there’s questions as to whether or not this has been a cost-effective move on the part of the Government. HMRC was rather cagey when it came to admitting how much it costs to set up and run this network of task forces, so your guess is as good as mine if the Treasury actually made any money out of this deal. Here’s hoping they at least broke even, or otherwise this whole thing has been a complete and utter failure.

I’m not saying that it’s bad that this £100 million has been raised by HMRC. It’s taxes that were legitimately owed, so there’s that. However, you can bet your last penny that the sources of these millions were likely to have been from small businesses and contract workers, since most large, high-powered multinational companies working in the UK are so ensconced in their legal loophole tax shelters that the hundreds of millions if not billions in tax revenue that they owe the Government will never see the light of day, ever.

Now it’s not like the Government doesn’t have bigger fish to fry on this hole tax cheat business, but it looks like the big one keeps getting away. How much have firms like Apple, Google, Amazon or Starbucks paid to HMRC over the past few years versus how much they actually owe? Not nearly enough – and much, much more than a relatively paltry £100 million, I’ll wager!

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