HMRC exceeds prosecution referral target

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has exceeded its prosecution referral target for the year ending March 2018.

The Government began 1,007 prosecutions against individuals related to tax evasion offences.

This beats HMRC’s target of referring 1,000 tax evasion cases each year to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

It is the fifth year in a row that the target has been reached, with experts believing that the figure could even increase in the future.

The Criminal Finances Act 2017 give’s HMRC more power to hold businesses liable for the actions of employees and contractors.

While HMRC has also obtained data relating to offshore accounts in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, giving them more information on the movement of cash and assets offshore.

The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) has also afforded HMRC more information on offshore taxpayers’ accounts, which came into effect in 2018. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Switzerland will begin to exchange more information with the UK this year as a part of the CRS.

HMRC are believed to be looking towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyse data, developing increasingly sophisticated tools.

Reports from September 2018 said that HMRC had opened 27 new serious tax evasion cases related to some of UK’s top businesses.

They are also looking at more complex high-value tax evasion cases, sending a message that they will not tolerate non-compliance.

A Government spokesperson said: “Tackling tax avoidance, evasion and unfair outcomes is a priority for this government.

“We’ve been at the forefront of international action to reform global tax rules, using our presidency of the G8 in 2013 to initiate the first substantial renovation of international tax standards in almost a century.”