HMRC enquiries and tribunals: What to do now
Ronnie Ludwig, examines how HMRC enquiries have evolved in recent months and what you need to remember when faced with one.
As well as detailing the department’s aims for the year, HMRC Business Plan 2010-11 mentions two points:
- "Ensure those seeking to evade tax are subject to robust and effective civil and criminal action".
- Tackle avoidance risks through policy and legislative design, designing out opportunities for avoidance and continuing to develop principles-based legislation which strengthens defences against innovative avoidance schemes. Where avoidance does occur, we will detect it early and tackle it through effective legislative change and/or well-targeted challenge, litigating where necessary.”
Tackling non-compliance and eliminating tax evasion has long been an objective for HMRC. The last HMRC Performance Report dated December 2009 puts the tax take from self-assessment business and non-business enquiries at over half a billion pounds for 2008-2009, by no means a negligible figure, and eradicating tax evasion is set to remain a priority as the government continues to look for ways to maximise tax receipts in a difficult economic environment.
From evasion to avoidance: A shift in focus