HM Revenue & Customs is to add 100 inspectors to its 200-strong Affluent Compliance Team, a team set up in 2010 to target wealthy Britons living in the UK who may be concealing money from the Revenue.
The team originally targeted those with annual earnings of more than £150,000 and wealth of between £2.5m and £20m however, this has been extended to those with wealth in the range of between £1m and £2.5m.
By the end of December last year the team had collected an extra £75m in tax, well ahead of HMRC’s expectations, and has a target to bring in £586m by the end of 2015.
HMRC said it plans to hire the extra inspectors using some of the £917m made available to it in 2010 by the UK government to help tackle tax evasion.
Exchequer secretary David Gauke said: “The vast majority of people pay their way. Dodging tax is immoral, illegal and unaffordable and the minority who cheat are increasingly finding that, thanks to the work of the Affluent Team, they have made a big mistake.”
John Cassidy, tax investigations and disputes resolution partner at PKF, said the decision to increase the unit is a “no brainer” for HMRC.
“Overall, the Government’s strategy of investing £917m to help HMRC increase annual tax yields by £7bn appears to be delivering results ahead of schedule, so it’s logical to bolster this area in the short term. Couple that with continued public anger with those who are perceived not to be paying their fair share of tax, and this is something of a no brainer.”