HMRC released their Compliance Update paper, entitled ‘Levelling the Playing Field’ back in March 2013. More than one year on and HMRC’s recently published figures show that they achieved a record £23.9 billion pounds of additional tax in 2013/14, an increase of £3.2 billion on the previous year and £9 billion on more than three years ago. The government is now targeting an additional £24.5 billion in the 2014/15 tax year and £26.3 billion in the following year.
The figures outlined above do however leave £12.2 billion of additional tax unaccounted for and there is little mention in the document with regards to general compliance activity targeted at SME’s and individuals who have not been involved in avoidance or evasion. Indeed figures quoted in a recent Daily Telegraph article (published 16 May 2014) suggest that HMRC opened enquiries into the affairs of 237,215 people last year as compared to 119,000 in 2011/12. According to the newspaper the number of enquiries into self-employed individuals quadrupled in that time, with the suggestion being that middle class individuals (doctors, lawyers and teachers for example) are being targeted as ‘soft targets’ who are likely to pay up (in respect of rental income or capital gains for example).
Watling and Hirst offer a fee protection service which covers the professional costs in the event of an enquiry from HMRC – contact us for details.