More than 600 members of tax avoidance schemes have received notices from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) demanding more than £250 million in unpaid tax.
David Gauke, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, confirmed that over 600 Accelerated Payment notices have been sent to tax avoidance scheme users since late August.
The notices are part of new powers the taxman now has to crackdown on users of deliberate tax avoidance schemes. According to law firm Winckworth Sherwood, the average demand is around £155,000, though in some cases it will exceed £1 million.
Recipients have 90 days to pay the tax demanded by the notices. Some have already approached HMRC with a view to organising payments – so far covering around £25m in disputed taxes. Others have contacted HMRC to settle up without having yet received their notice.
How much tax is owed in total?
HMRC has only made a small dent into its list of tax avoiders to contact: 43,000 tax avoidance scheme users will receive a notice before the end of March 2016.
The notices are expected to prompt the retrieval of £7.1 billion of tax. By January 2015, HMRC will be sending out 2,500 Accelerated Payment notices per month.
Gauke said: "It is only fair that those who use avoidance schemes should have to pay their tax upfront," like most taxpayers who "don't shirk their responsibilities."
Jennie Granger, Director General of Enforcement and Compliance at HMRC said that "good progress" was being made in tackling avoidance. Anyone who is concerned about being able to pay, she continued, "should contact us as soon as possible to discuss their options."
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