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10 February 2016

£2 billion collected from tax avoiders under Accelerated Payments scheme

Collecting disputed tax upfront from users of avoidance schemes has been a "game changer" that has raked in more than £2 billion, according to the Treasury.

David Gauke, the financial secretary to the Treasury, says the move highlights the Government's determination to clamp down on tax avoiders.

Until 2014, tax avoiders were able to hang on to disputed money while their affairs were being investigated.

Since then though, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has been using Accelerated Payments notices to collect disputed tax straight away. That has resulted in hundreds of millions of pounds worth of tax being collected over the last two years.

A large majority (80%) of tax disputes which go to court result in wins for HMRC. This means the upfront collections have resulted in the advantage tax avoiders previously enjoyed being removed, the Government says.

Mr Gauke says people tempted to avoid paying tax should now realise that it "does not pay". He added that tax avoidance will not be tolerated by the Government.

Thomas Bird, solicitor in the wills, trusts and probate practice at B P Collins comments; "'This highlights the importance of obtaining professional advice for estate planning and acts as a reminder for those administering an estate of a deceased relative or friend, that they must be open and honest when declaring assets contained in the estate, and gifts made by the deceased in the seven years prior to death, as this is another area that HMRC are becoming tighter on."

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