The number of individuals being investigated by HMRC has doubled in one year, raising concerns that people are being targeted for honest mistakes.
HM Revenue & Customs made inquiries about the tax affairs of 237,215 people last year, compared with about 119,000 in 2011-12, according to figures obtained by UHY Hacker Young.
The number of self-employed people investigated quadrupled in that time while annual prosecutions increased sevenfold in three years, the newspaper reported.
Mark Giddens, a partner at UHY Hacker Young, told the Daily Telegraph that HMRC was focusing on collecting tax from “soft targets” such as teachers, doctors and lawyers.
“Rather than questioning the bill, these individuals will pay up,” he said. “As we all know, the revenue makes mistakes."
A Tory MP on the Commons Treasury select committee told the Telegraph that HMRC had been “given a mandate to aggressively go about trying to collect tax” and accused it of “nit-picking”.
The issue also aroused the ire of the IR35 community, which has been the focus of several HMRC taskforces in recent years,