Over 600 members of tax avoidance schemes have received letters from HMRC demanding in excess of £250 million in unpaid tax.
David Gauke, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, confirmed that more than 600 Accelerated Payment notices have been mailed to tax avoidance schemers since late August.
The notices are part of a new HMRC initiative to clampdown on the number of people participating in deliberate tax avoidance schemes. The average demand is believed to be around £150,000, but in some cases it will exceed £1 million.
Recipients will be given 90 days to pay the demand; some of whom have already contacted HMRC in order to arrange payments, covering approximately £25 million of the deficit. Many more have got in touch with HMRC to pay their debts without receiving their notice.
HMRC has only made contact with a small number of its list of tax avoiders; it is expected that 43,000 tax avoidance scheme entrants will receive a notice before the end of March 2016.
The letters are expected to retrieve a total of £7.1 billion of tax, and by January 2015, HMRC will send out 2,500 Accelerated Payment notices per month.
Gauke said: “It is only fair that those who use avoidance schemes should have to pay their tax upfront,” like most taxpayers who “don’t shirk their responsibilities.”
Jennie Granger, Director General of Enforcement and Compliance at HMRC said that “good progress” was being made in tackling avoidance. Anyone who is concerned about being able to pay, she continued, “should contact us as soon as possible to discuss their options.”
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