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HMRC To Double Size of Affluent Unit

HMRC’s ongoing attempts to counter tax avoidance and evasion has increasingly focused on wealthy individuals. The number of wealthy individuals who could attract HMRC’s scrutiny is set to rise sharply, as it has announced its intention to double the size of its Affluent Unit.

Apparently HMRC will be hiring in the region of 100 additional inspectors, bringing the headcount up to more than 200, whilst plans have also been proposed to widen its remit. The Affluent Unit targets taxpayers with an annual income of more than £150,000 and wealth of between £2.5m and £20m, but its scope also includes those in the £1m to £2.5m range.

The move will see the number of wealthy individuals under the unit’s remit hit approximately 500,000, according to HMRC estimates. Whilst the Treasury believes the Affluent Unit has brought in an additional £75m in tax by the end of December 2014 ahead of expectations, it has now set an aggressive target of £586m by the end of 2015.

Overall, the government’s strategy of investing £917m to help HMRC increase annual tax yields by £7bn appears to be delivering results ahead of schedule. Apparently HMRC paid out a record £400,000 in 2013 to people whistleblowing on tax avoidance activities.

For further details or for more general advice please speak to Karen Spencer-Smith or your usual Saffron adviser.