Why Is HMRC Using The Criminal Prosecution Route More Often?

As tax gets more complicated, and HMRC gets more aggressive, a growing number of people are finding themselves under criminal investigation.

In recent years, HMRC has been given a bigger budget and more powers to chase unpaid tax, and to pursue and penalise those responsible for non-payment. This approach is popular with the public and gets good headlines for politicians, so it is likely to continue.

Why Is HMRC Using The Criminal Prosecution Route More Often?The reality is that the difference between the amount owed to the Treasury and how much it actually collects is believed to be between £35 billion and £70 billion. This also puts more pressure on HMRC to actively consider the criminal route in order to resolve tax disputes.

As part of this, and in addition to being given more money, HMRC has been set targets for the number of prosecutions to be brought per year. This of course creates pressure to hit those targets.  It raises concern that HMRC may choose to prosecute in cases where previously the civil procedure would have been followed.

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