HM Revenue & Customs today announced that the number of evasion cases lined up for prosecution nearly doubled to 1,135 in the three years to 2015-16.
The release of the figures, in response to a Freedom of Information request, comes as the tax authority prepares to use new data to investigate individuals who have hidden money offshore and coincides with new legislation being introduced on Saturday that will allow it to prosecute businesses which fail to prevent staff from facilitating tax evasion.
In 2015, HMRC was given a target to triple to 100 the number of criminal investigations into “serious and complex” tax crimes by 2020, particularly those involving wealthy individuals and corporations. It has been under pressure to focus on more complex cases, after it was criticised for selecting low-value cases that would enable it to meet its target of increasing prosecutions by 1,000 a year by 2014-15. A quarter of tax prosecutions in that year involved less than £10,000 of revenues.