Record haul in tax investigations

Updated: 

PA

Investigations by taxmen took in a record £23.9 billion over the last year, according to new official figures.

The total was up £3.2 billion on the previous year and £9 billion on three years ago, and is nearly £1 billion above the target set by Chancellor George Osborne in his 2013 autumn statement, said HM Revenue and Customs.

More than £8 billion has been secured from large business, over £1 billion from criminals and £2.7 billion from tackling avoidance schemes in the courts, said HMRC.

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said: "The Government supports the hard-working, honest majority of taxpayers that play by the rules, and is determined to tackle the minority that seek to avoid
paying the taxes they owe.

"We set HMRC ambitious targets to increase its yield and the figures published today demonstrate that HMRC is successfully meeting these challenges. It also sends a clear signal - HMRC will pursue those seeking to avoid their responsibilities and will collect the taxes that are due."

Mr Gauke said on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "There is a variety of things that have been done to increase the yield, various campaigns, better use of technology.

"The staff of HMRC deserve credit for what they have done... the Government has been very much backing HMRC. We put in place a reinvestment programme that has contributed to this increase in yield."

Asked about Amazon, he replied: "I don't want to be drawn into individual cases but I do think you can't expect HMRC to collect tax that isn't in accordance with the law.

"The answer is to make sure we have international reform... the UK has led the way in that process."

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