Tax avoidance clampdown to raise £7bn

Jo has welcomed the announcement that the Government will launch a major clampdown on tax avoidance.

At the Liberal Democrats’ Autumn Conference, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has announced £900m additional investment to tackle tax avoidance and evasion, which is expected to raise an extra £7bn each year by 2014/15 from those who currently avoid paying their fair share of tax.

HMRC will use the extra funding for:

- A more robust criminal deterrent against tax evasion

- The creation of a new dedicated team of investigators to crackdown on offshore evasion

- The creation of bespoke cyber crime teams and online specialists

- More investment in freight and detection technology to prevent alcohol and tobacco smuggling

Commenting, Jo said:

“For too long, too many people have been able to get away with not paying their fair share of tax. Shockingly, it is often those wealthy people and businessmen who can most afford to pay who treat paying tax as though it were optional. They are only taking resources away from the people who need them most.

“This is totally unacceptable – all the moreso when we are facing a £155 billion budget deficit. It is high time that those people were made to pay their fair share.”

Tax evasion is estimated to cost the Exchequer approximately £7bn each year in uncollected tax revenues. Avoidance costs around the same figure. Attacks on the tax system by organised criminals are estimated to cost around £5bn.

HMRC publishes figures for revenue losses from written off or remitted tax debt in its annual accounts. In 2009/10 revenue losses stood at £6.3billion.

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