In the 1930's Al Capone was targeted for tax fraud, not his other crimes. The reason was simple. That charge could be made to stick.
As any practising accountant who's done his or her fair share of tax investigations knows, proving a taxpayer can live within their declared means can be difficult. The accusation that they can't is one the Revenue have used against the self employed for years.
So it seems somewhat overdue that the method is now to be used against organised criminals. But Accountancy Age notes this week that:
A team of 20 staff from HM Revenue & Customs will work with the Serious Organised Crime Agency on hitting tax evaders thought to be guilty of crimes, where they live in luxury with little or no obvious means of support.
Tax penalties could be used to cripple the bosses without the cost of a criminal trial, while an acquitted defendant could still face a tax bill.
I've always thought that doing this made complete sense. I'm only baffled it's taken so long to get round to it.