HMRC conducts 200 criminal investigations into tax evasion enablers

HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service is currently conducting 200 criminal investigations into the “enablers” of tax evasion.  

The body said that it intends to continue its focus on enablers as their “services are seen by HMRC as a vital element of assisting tax evasion”.     

Law firm RPC added that the number of criminal investigations currently underway is “surprisingly high”. 

Enablers of tax evasion include those who “provide a service or an action which helps another commit or conceal tax evasion”. 

Michelle Sloane, partner at RPC said: “HMRC had promised to use its criminal powers to go after those who either deliberately or passively assist tax evaders, however, the sheer scale of live investigations into “enablers” is unexpectedly high. 

“HMRC is now focussing on all links in the tax evasion chain, coming down just as hard on those enabling or facilitating tax crimes as those committing them” 

She added: “HMRC have also made it clear that this includes accountants, lawyers and finance advisors who they consider to be enablers of tax evasion. It includes anybody who provides a service or an action which helps another commit or conceal tax evasion.  

“For example, a technology company that provides bespoke software that enables food outlets to supress their till income could be considered an enabler.”

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