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HMRC income from tax crackdown on ‘mass affluent’ up 60 per cent

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HMRC's crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion by people who it calls "mass affluent" saw an income boost of 60 per cent in the last year, a new report has claimed.

HMRC’s Affluent Unit, which covers UK residents on annual incomes over £150,000 – or wealth over £1m – raised £137.2m in tax last year, 60 per cent more than the £85.7m it raised in 2013.

The findings were published in a new report by law firm Pinsent Masons, which used HMRC’s data.

The unit, set up in 2011, doubled in size in 2013 after recruiting 100 tax inspectors, and covers about 500,000 UK residents, the BBC said.

Pinsent Mason head of litigation and compliance James Bullock said the tax office was becoming more aggressive in its prosecutions of professionals and entrepreneurs.

He told the BBC: “This surge in extra revenue from Affluent Unit tax investigations serves as a reminder that HMRC is widening its lines of inquiry.

“People who would just consider themselves moderately successful professionals and business people are now also coming under the scrutiny of HMRC’s specialist units.”

But critics said HMRC was failing to meet expectations and should put more resources into clawing back tax from high earners.

A separate report showed HMRC earnings from investigations into capital gains tax (CGT) were up 24 per cent in the last year.

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