The middle-class workforce is set to be targeted in a new crackdown on tax evasion, the director of public prosecutions has said.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) aims to send a ‘clear message’ by significantly increasing the amount of tax evasion cases it brings in the next two years.
This constitutes a dramatic jump from 2010, when the CPS secured only 200 convictions. Its current conviction rate for tax cases is 86%.
Tax consultants or advisers who promote dishonest schemes, and the professionals who invest in them, are central targets for the CPS.
The concerted push mirrors the stance of HMRC, which continues to take a harder line on all forms of evasion, as government targets on tax yield have grown. HMRC investigates the cases before referring them to the CPS.
The number of businesses threatened with having assets seized by HMRC has almost doubled in the last year, and according to analysis from accountancy group UHY Hacker Young, HMRC’s approach is becoming ‘more hard-line with each passing year’.
In a campaign to increase tax revenues, HMRC has also created well-publicised task forces and concentrated on specific sectors and geographical areas.
This action comes amid growing public and political unrest over the amount of tax paid by large multinationals in the UK, including Starbucks, Amazon and Google, which culminated in Starbucks taking the unprecedented step of offering to voluntarily pay over £20m in corporation tax to HMRC over the next two years.