As part of HMRC’s approach to combating tax evasion, the names of deliberate tax defaulters have been published online for the first time.
HMRC was given the power to publish these names to deter UK taxpayers from deliberately defaulting on their tax obligations. Publishing these names also encourages the non-compliant to make a full disclosure at the outset of an investigation as doing so means their details will not be published.
David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said:
HMRC is dedicated to clamping down on the small minority of people who break the law, and finding and taking action against tax cheats who try to evade their responsibilities. The publication of these names sends a clear signal that cheating on tax is wrong and reassures people who pay their taxes – the vast majority – that there are consequences for those who refuse to tell HMRC about their full liability. It also encourages defaulters to make a full and prompt disclosure and cooperate with HMRC to avoid being named.
Details of the first tranche of deliberate defaulters
HMRC will update the list each quarter.
Notes for editors
A deliberate defaulter is a person who incurs a relevant penalty for:
- an inaccuracy in a return or document for a tax period beginning on or after 1 April 2010
- a failure to comply with certain obligations, such as the obligation to notify HMRC of a liability to tax
- a VAT or excise wrongdoing that occurred on or after 1 April 2010
Deliberate defaulters can be named where, during an investigation into a period starting on or after 1 April 2010:
- it is established that the taxpayer is liable to a penalty for a deliberate default
- as a result of the deliberate default, more than £25,000 of additional tax would have been lost without HMRC’s intervention
- the taxpayer has failed to make a full disclosure to HMRC at the outset, so failing to receive the maximum possible reduction in penalties for full and early disclosure and assistance
There is a legislative requirement for HMRC to ensure it publishes names for only 12 months.
Details are published only once all appeal routes against the related tax and penalties are exhausted. Details must be published within 12 months of the penalty becoming final.
Legislation to allow HMRC to publish the details of deliberate tax defaulters was introduced in the Finance Act 2009.
The government has invested over £917 million in HMRC to better tackle evasion, criminal attacks, unpaid tax debt and avoidance. The department will also receive a further £77 million by the end of 2014 to 2015 to expand its anti-avoidance and evasion activity, bringing in £2 billion a year in additional revenue by the end of 2014 to 2015. HMRC will therefore now aim to raise total additional revenues of £22 billion a year by the end of 2014 to 2015. This is £9 billion more than it would have been without this government‘s near £1 billion investment, a 70% increase since 2010 to 2011.
It is HMRC’s policy to deal with fraud through cost-effective civil investigation where appropriate. Criminal investigation is reserved for cases where the conduct involved is such that only a criminal sanction is appropriate.