HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has experienced a 64% increase in revenue from personal tax investigations after taking a ‘forensic approach’ to smaller self-assessment violations.
Freelancers and the self-employed are among those affected by HMRC’s stricter measures, which have caused income from investigations to rise from £268.8m in 2010-11 to £440.6m in 2011-12, according to research from accountancy network UHY Hacker Young.
Following an announcement in 2010, which stated that HMRC would endeavour to collect £7bn in additional revenue per year by 2014-2015, HMRC has launched specific taskforces, targeted at particular types of tax avoidance and individual professions.
HMRC has also been particularly focused on tightening up the collection of capital gains tax for deals including the sale of stakes in businesses, UHY Hacker Young reports.
Roy Maugham, tax partner at UHY Hacker Young warns business owners to be careful when filing tax returns. He commented: “Calculating capital gains tax can be confusing, and people often make mistakes when they file their returns.
“HMRC is trying to raise revenue across the board by undertaking increasingly painstaking investigations. They are now pursuing smaller infractions.
“Previously, HMRC resources and manpower were only really used to chase larger amounts of money, but now a forensic approach is being used even for when it is just a modest amount of tax that is missing.”