News story

Record £220 million haul from wealthy taxpayers

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A specialist unit dealing with the country’s wealthiest taxpayers brought in a record £220 million of extra tax last year, HMRC revealed today.

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HMRC’s High Net Worth Unit (HNWU) – which deals with the tax affairs of 5,800 people with assets in excess of £20 million – increased its yield from tax enquiries by 10 per cent in the 2012/13 tax year, having collected £200 million in 2011/12.

The unit has increased its revenues from the UK’s richest taxpayers every year since it was established in 2009, raising a total of £665 million in additional tax over the last four years. This revenue is in addition to the taxes HMRC normally collects from this group of wealthy individuals and is the result of enquiries.

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said:

HMRC’s High Net Worth Unit provides the specialist attention they require in ensuring the wealthy pay the tax they owe. This Government has reinvested almost £1 billion in HMRC and expects them to deliver almost £22 billion in 2014-15.

Since 2010, the unit has raised £582 million, increasing its revenue year on year which, at a time when the Government is focused on reducing the deficit, is delivering real results for the country.

HNWU Head, Martin Randall, said:

The tax affairs of the richest people in the country can be complex as they have large tax bills, and that’s why we’ve focused resources on getting their tax right.

The majority of the wealthiest taxpayers play by the rules, paying the right tax at the right time, but we take action against the minority who don’t.

The unit employs 380 staff across eight different locations:

  • Birmingham
  • Bradford
  • Cardiff
  • East Kilbride
  • Edinburgh
  • Portsmouth
  • Washington
  • Wrexham

Caseworkers rigorously examine potentially inaccurate tax returns. Where an inaccuracy or incomplete return is found, the taxpayer must pay the extra tax due. Where this is deliberate, interest and a penalty are also due.

In 2010/11, the unit collected an extra £162 million and in 2009/10 it collected an additional £83 million.

The top 1% of earners paid 26.5% of total income tax receipts in 2012/13

More details about HMRC’s compliance work are in our latest progress report.

Published 23 April 2013