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A specialist team at HM Revenue & Customs is examining the tax affairs of 6,500 super-rich individuals [Image: Alamy].

A specialist team at HM Revenue & Customs is examining the tax affairs of 6,500 super-rich individuals [Image: Alamy].

… And the story doesn’t say whether the prosecution was successful.

This revelation will certainly re-kindle claims that HMRC is concentrating far too much of its effort on tax avoidance among working- and middle-class people when it should be putting resources elsewhere.

But the simple fact is that it is easier to detect tax avoidance among the less wealthy classes – because they don’t enjoy as many – legal – opportunities for avoidance.

This is a story about corruption in Parliament, where super-rich MPs simply won’t simplify tax in a way that might disadvantage themselves. Or so it seems to This Writer.

Still, it is welcome to see that 40 of the people named in the Panama Papers are now under investigation.

Is it forlorn to hope that one of them is David Cameron?

Tax inspectors targeting Britain’s wealthiest people have identified potential evasion and avoidance worth nearly £2bn, but have pursued only one successful criminal prosecution, a National Audit Office report reveals.

It says the tax affairs of 6,500 super-rich individuals – each worth more than £20m – are being examined by a specialist HM Revenue and Customs unit. The unit is investigating outstanding receipts worth £1.9bn, a majority of which involve aggressive avoidance schemes.

However, just two individuals have been criminally investigated over the past five years, leading to a single prosecution, while another 70 were pursued through the civil courts.

In an indication of the scale of the task faced by the unit, the report discloses that each of the 6,500 super-rich taxpayers has had on average four serious tax issues looked at by the unit. Around 4,000 inquiries have been open for more than three years, it adds.

The report sheds a light on the scale of potential tax avoidance involving the super-rich and will prompt further claims that Britain’s wealthiest people are not being pursued with the same vigour as benefits claimants or small businesses.

Source: HMRC investigating £1.9bn in potential tax avoidance by super-rich | Business | The Guardian

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