Taxman set for crackdown

David Evans
David Evans

A Blackpool-based accountancy firm is warning those with high incomes to get their tax affairs in order as HM Revenue and Customs bolsters its Affluent Unit.

Bishops Chartered Accountants, based at Church Street, said HMRC has announced this week that it has doubled the number of inspectors trawling through the tax files of individuals earning £150,000 or more.

Individuals that have filed self-assessment returns late or anyone who has previously invested in a scheme devised to reduce tax bills may also be a target

The so-called Affluent Unit, which concentrates on people who earn enough to pay the 45 per cent additional-rate tax, has increased its headcount by 54 per cent in two years, from 213 in 2012/2013 to 327 in 2014/2015.

Before now, the taxman has mainly investigated ‘high net worth’ individuals who earn £1m or more.

However, Bishops believes the increase in the number of tax investigators may indicate that they are now turning their attention to those further down the income scale to tighten up on procedures.

David Evans, Director at Bishops, said: “This growth in the Affluent Unit reflects HMRCs drive to improve revenue collection across the board. We have seen that this unit is especially interested in those owning property in the UK and abroad or who use offshore bank accounts.

“Individuals that have filed self-assessment returns late or anyone who has previously invested in a scheme devised to reduce tax bills may also be a target.

“If anyone is concerned that they might be the subject of a tax investigation, now or in the near future, they should contact a professional who can act on their behalf to minimise any potential penalties.”