Budget  

Budget 2020: Funding pledged for £4.4bn HMRC evasion crackdown

Budget 2020: Funding pledged for £4.4bn HMRC evasion crackdown

The government has pledged extra funding to support HM Revenue & Custom's crackdown on tax avoidance, which the chancellor said would create an additional £4.4bn in revenue over the next five years. 

In today's Budget (March 11) Rishi Sunak said funds created by an upcoming "clampdown" on tax "avoidance, evasion and non-compliance" would be funnelled towards the NHS. 

Mr Sunak said: "I am announcing a package of measures today to clampdown on aggressive tax avoidance, evasion and non-compliance including extra funding for HMRC to secure £4.4bn of additional revenue."

Stuart Ritchie, principal at accountancy firm Ritchie Phillips, noted: "Sunak announces extra funding for HMRC to raise an extra £4.46bn in tax revenues from tackling tax evasion and avoidance - a classic statement by a chancellor.

"Given penalties paid by taxpayers are up to over £800m per annum, this will be no surprise to those involved in defending individuals from tax investigations and disputes."

The proposal will see 1,300 staff added to operational teams within HMRC, intended to improve its compliance work and debt collection capabilities. 

According to documents published alongside the Budget today, the government has protected more than £200bn of tax since 2010 which it claims would otherwise have "gone unpaid".

The Budget read: "The government will publish a discussion document seeking views on the wider application of tax conditionality in the spring.

"Tax conditionality refers to a principle whereby businesses are granted access to government awards and authorisations, such as approvals, licenses, grants, only if they are able to demonstrate good tax compliance."

The Treasury estimated the extra investment in HMRC would raise an additional £1bn a year in tax revenues by 2022-23.

It came as the chancellor kept his promise to freeze corporation tax, which he confirmed would not be cut and remain at 19 per cent - a level he claimed was still the lowest rate in the G20. 

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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