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HMRC received only £91m during last two tax amnesties

HMRC has received 80% less in unpaid tax during the last two amnesties combined than in the first.

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In the 2007 Offshore Disclosure Facility, HMRC received £450m in unpaid tax from participants, however the two most recent tax amnesties – the New Disclosure Opportunity (NDO) and the Tax Health Plan (THP) – yielded just £91m combined.

According to the data, the NDO yielded just £82m from 5,000 disclosures – an average of £14,500 per disclosure. The THP meanwhile netted around £9m from approximately 1,500 participants – an average disclosure of £6,500 per case. However, the £9m included a £1.2m settlement which, if discounted, makes the average case just £5,000.

McGrigors said the failure of HMRC to punish tax evaders after its first amnesty in 2007, and the perception among taxpayers there will be further tax amnesties, has undermined the response to the NDO and THP.

Phil Berwick, director of tax investigations at McGrigors, said: “These figures will be hugely disappointing for HMRC. With every amnesty there seems to be diminishing returns. These two amnesties brought in less than 20% of the cash of the first one.

“With each disclosure facility HMRC gathers information on taxpayers, but there have yet to be any prosecutions at all of tax evaders who failed to respond to the first amnesty in 2007. It’s one of those rare occasions where HMRC can be criticised for being all carrot and no stick.”

However, w spokesperson for HMRC said the tax amnesties had been a success. "HMRC’s disclosure opportunities have proved very successful, tens of thousands of people have come forward paying more £500m in tax that would otherwise have remained unpaid. Comparison between the various disclosure opportunities are not valid.

"The original disclosure opportunity involved bigger banks with many more offshore customers than the more recent disclosure opportunity that targeted significantly fewer people. The NDO cost HMRC just under £4m to set up and administer, providing excellent value for money, by returning over £80m so far."

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