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Yield from civil fraud investigations on the rise

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The amount of tax collected from civil investigations carried out by HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service increased by 13% in the year to March 2018 (to £2.66bn), according to figures obtained by Pinsent Masons. The amount from criminal investigations (£2.81bn) remained broadly static against the previous year.

This is seen against the background of HMRC’s current consultation on revising its information powers, including the ability to issue third-party information notices without the need for prior approval from the tax tribunal, or introducing new ‘financial institution notices’.

Steven Porter, partner at Pinsent Masons, commented: ‘HMRC has thrown serious weight behind its elite team of tax investigators, which now seems to be paying off given the overall increase in revenue.’ However, he is concerned that the authorities are seeking ever more sweeping powers, ‘without the oversight, the checks and balances that helped ensure HMRC acted in a fair and proportionate manner’.