16:17 PM, 10th June 2011, About 13 years ago
HM Revenue and Customs is planning to flood the courts with criminal and civil cases against tax cheats after the first round of amnesties has closed.
The tax man has started 16 criminal investigations for tax evasion – six involving the medical profession and ten relating to failure to declare interest on offshore bank accounts.
Hundreds of civil cases to recover tax are in the pipeline.
HMRC has also warned the recent chance to come clean for plumbers and other tradesmen will add to the toll of criminal and civil cases.
Around £500 million of undeclared tax was recovered from the amnesties.
More tax cases due
The Offshore Disclosure Facility that looked at unpaid tax on interest earned from cash in offshore savings accounts generated 12,000 inquiries and claimed £91 million. Another 1,000 inquiries are still in progress.
The Tax Health Plan for the medical profession resulted in 1,500 disclosures and the recovery of £10 million tax. Around 500 inquiries await resolution.
HMRC explained alleged tax cheats facing prosecution covered a ‘broad range’, including chip shop owners, hairdressers and bankers.
“We have started banging on the doors of offshore cheats, who come from a broad sector of society, but these investigations do not yet include plumbers. We now have all our intelligence; we are geared up to do more cases,” a spokesman said.
£970 million war chest
HMRC picked up £970 million war chest as a fighting fund against taxpayers who fail to declare their earnings.
In July, tax inspections on 50,000 small businesses a year start, while a pilot scheme looking in to the books of restaurants and fast food outlets has already started in some areas of the country.
Further action against offshore tax evasion is already expected as a ‘disclosure opportunity’ for savers with money in Liechtenstein comes to an end, while further action is awaited against savings and bank account holders in Switzerland.
HMRC bought a list of 7,000 accounts with HSBC from a tax whistleblower in Switzerland last year.
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