'Affluent' taxpayers targeted in fresh anti-avoidance crackdown

17th November 2015

Professionals who earn enough to quality for the highest band of tax (45 per cent) are being monitored more closely by HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) fast-expanding tax avoidance taskforce.

A fresh crackdown on “affluent” taxpayers with annual incomes of more than £150,000 has intensified with HMRC shifting its attention somewhat from “high net worth” individuals earning £1m or more.

The new “Affluent Unit” has seen its headcount grow by more than half (54 per cent) in the last two financial years, having been set up initially in 2011. The unit is especially interested in the tax affairs of those who own property or bank accounts offshore, as well as those with multiple property holdings in the UK.

Those most likely to come under the radar of HMRC’s Affluent Unit are those paying low rates of tax on total income; despite the fact high earners can still greatly reduce their overall tax bill by legitimate means.

In addition, those who regularly file self-assessment returns late are also likely to attract attention, as well as taxpayers who have previously invested in any tax avoidance scheme.

An HMRC spokesperson said: “We are better than ever at moving resource to risk as these figures of extra staff deployed tackling non-compliance clearly show.

“Anyone who has not paid the tax they owe should get in touch with us urgently as coming forward means a lower penalty.”

HMRC no longer need a reason for opening a tax enquiry into your business or personal affairs. So it’s vital that your finances are accurate and compliant with the UK tax regime.

The best route for avoiding an HMRC tax investigation would be to employ an accountant. Your local TaxAssist Accountant can work with you to analyse your tax affairs and check for anything which may arouse suspicion with HMRC.

To arrange a free initial consultation with your nearest TaxAssist Accountant simply fill out our online enquiry form or call our friendly team today on 0800 0523 555.

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