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HMRC launch crackdown on affluent taxpayers

More farmers and landowners will fall into wider HMRC affluent compliance team remit says Susie Swift, Saffery Champness, Inverness

Following the announcement last week that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is to recruit 100 additional inspectors to broaden the scope of its Affluent Compliance Unit, Susie Swift, Partner in the Landed Estates and Rural Business Group of top 20 chartered accountant Saffery Champness and based in the firm's Inverness office, says that more farmers and landowners will now be ‘on its radar’.

Susie Swift says:

“HMRC has announced that 100 more inspectors will allow broadening of the affluent compliance unit’s work to cover taxpayers with wealth in the region of £1 million to £2.5 million.  Previously the unit’s operations were limited to taxpayers with an annual income in excess of £150,000 and wealth of between £2.5 million and £20 million.

“The unit is quoted as having an ambitious target to deliver an additional £586 million in tax by the end of 2015. Since its formation in 2010 it reports bringing in an additional £75 million in tax, and so on that basis will have its work cut out.”

Susie Swift says that for the farmers and landowners that fall into this bracket the best way to avoid raising any suspicion is to be absolutely sure that all their tax affairs are in order, their returns submitted on time, and professional advice is sought over any potential areas of contention or concern.  She comments:

“HMRC has said that those who cheat on their tax are increasingly finding that, thanks to the work of the affluent compliance team, they have made ‘a big mistake’. So don’t give HMRC any grounds to think that they may have an issue with your affairs. That is the only guarantee to avoid the disruption and discomfort that a full blown investigation can bring.”


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