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Resource usage

April 7, 2016

If you look at HMRC’s list of deliberate tax defaulters here you’ll see pubs and sandwich bars, window salesmen and an eBay trader.  You won’t see many accountants or wealth management companies and there’s nothing there that screams to me “concealed overseas assets and income”.

There’s an interesting piece of qualitative research here which looks at the attitudes of people given prison sentences for tax evasion as a result of the “volume crime initiative” – which looks at VAT fraud, undeclared income and use of fraudulent documents.

And, I don’t know about your google skills, but I can’t seem to find a more recent “HMRC most wanted” list than this one from 2013 which shows a gallery of… well, click on them yourselves.  VAT fraud, fag smuggling, a smuggler of non-EU garlic incorrectly described as ginger

I have a simple question for HMRC.  How many staff (how many “FTE” – full time equivalent – staff) are engaged on the detection, investigation and prosecution of booze and fag smuggling.  And how many are engaged on examining the Panama papers and will be allocated to investigate and ultimately prosecute any wrongdoers?

3 comments

  1. My impression is that there are quite large backlogs at HMRC over this sort of thing.

    Certainly the number of employers who have so far been named and shamed over NMW is remarkably low. I would expect the number ought to be equal to the number of NMW enquiries, given how impossible it is to get it right.


    • Really? Why impossible? I’d have thought the issue was the allocation of resources to “low hanging fruit” rather than investing in the difficult and chancy cases.


      • Impossible to get NMW right, I mean. Getting an NMW enquiry right is dead easy, you just pick someone being paid slightly more than NMW and do some simple maths to demonstrate that this means that they’re being underpaid :-/

        In fact, what I’ve seen suggests that HMRC are almost using NMW enquiries as a bit of an educational exercise: explaining to employers how they misunderstand the rules (and they almost all are, as the rules are not at all intuitive), and taking out their big stick to tap you very lightly with – while making it *very* clear that they are pulling their punches.

        There’s no such thing as low hanging fruit for NMW. That implies you have to reach to get it – even if only a little way – whereas in fact the fruit is pretty much punnetted up and ready to eat.

        To paraphrase Xavier: give me the employee up to the rate of £8 an hour, and I’ll give you the named and shamed employer.



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