According to data released to UK accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young, HMRC’s yield from compliance work related to personal tax returns was £609m in 2012-2013, up from £441m in the previous year.
The accountancy firm said that one area in particular where HMRC has collected a significant proportion of its additional revenue is by investigating the tax affairs of those in the highest-paying tax band.
UHY Hacker Young explained that HMRC’s so-called “Affluent Team” scrutinises the tax affairs of around 300,000 people with incomes over £150,000 or wealth between £2.5m and £20m, and is expected to recover £586m in unpaid taxes by 2015.
Earlier this year, HMRC announced that it was expanding its Affluent Team with the hiring of 100 additional inspectors. The unit brought in £75m in 2012-13 and is expected to bring in the same amount — if not more — in 2013-14.
Now of course I welcome this. I'm also aware that this data cannot be extrapolated easily, but the message is very clear. 100 new inspectors have paid handsome dividends. I have always said they would.
But in that case why not many, many, more, because what is certain is that only the tip of the iceberg is being tackled right now.
The only illogical course of action right now is not to be recruiting, heavily.