HMRC doesn’t have enough staff to chase rich tax avoiders

Owl says: Well, that’s jolly convenient isn’t it!

“The tax office has been “swamped” with 5.7 million pieces of information about overseas bank accounts held by three million British citizens under the terms of a new international treaty, according to tax experts.

However, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) does not have enough staff to investigate the information, according to the tax consultancy BDO, so is instead blitzing the people named with speculative letters asking them to send details of their financial affairs.

The information is coming from 100 countries under common reporting standards (CRS) agreed by the international Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The standards are designed to stop tax evasion, or avoidance, by making governments aware of overseas money held by their citizens. HMRC says in its annual report that the agreement has “created an unprecedented increase in the global transparency of offshore tax affairs”.

Richard Morley, a partner at BDO, says, however, that this flow of data is in danger of overwhelming the taxman.

Research by Pinsent Masons, a law firm, found that HMRC’s investigators last year made 540 requests to overseas authorities for information on the highest-net-worth individuals that it believed may be storing tens of millions of pounds abroad to avoid tax.”

Source: Times (pay wall)