CrimeHMRC

Prison sentences for tax evasion surge 42% amid HMRC crackdown

The length of custodial sentences handed down by the courts has also risen, with a 131% surge in the total length of custodial sentences in the Q4 2021/22 tax year

The prison sentence for tax evaders who have been sentenced has jumped 42% in the past 12 months, from a collective 185 years to 262 years in prison, as HMRC cracks down in its approach to suspected tax evasion.

According to Pinsent Masons, decisions to up the charge for individual taxpayers who are suspected tax evaders has increased 11% in the past year, from 304 to 336. Overall, 134 charging decisions were made in Q4 of 2021/22 compared to 85 in Q3, representing a 58% surge.

Additionally, the length of custodial sentences handed down by the courts has also risen. There was a 131% surge in the total length of custodial sentences in the Q4 2021/22 tax year, with tax evaders collectively sentenced to 125 years in prison, up from 54 years in Q3.

Andrew Sackey, partner at Pinsent Masons, said: “It is clear that there is a need for the exchequer to balance the expenditures arising from Covid and the war in Ukraine. HMRCs strategy has been to use criminal powers in only the most egregious cases; although it has always acknowledged that the deterrent impact of targeted prosecutions is part of its arsenal.

“These figures demonstrate that it wants to show it means business to ‘persuade’ better tax compliance, and is increasingly looking to press charges against those suspected of tax evasion – whoever they may be – to underpin that message.”

He added: “The overall message could not be clearer. Any one evading tax can – and increasingly will – find themselves in HMRC’s crosshairs and so may have to endure the stress, disruption and reputational damage of a criminal investigation and of course, if found guilty, could well end up behind bars.”

Show More
Back to top button
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]