Beating the tax cheats – HMRC’s criminal case highlights of 2016

7 Jan 2017 01:28 PM

HM Revenue and Customs has revealed its top ten most significant fraud and organised crime cases of the last year

In the ongoing fight against tax evasion, HMRC took a range of tax fraudsters through the courts in 2016 for prosecution. HMRC’s criminal investigations have led to 679 individuals being convicted for their part in tax crimes, with sentences for 2016 totalling more than 730 years.

Many of the cases won by HMRC in 2016 involved company directors, accountants and organised criminals. These individuals were involved in a wide range of criminal activity including excise smuggling, hiding assets from HMRC in offshore accounts, and frauds disguised as tax avoidance schemes.

These ten most significant cases each came with large prison sentences. They include:

Simon York, Director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said:

Day in, day out, HMRC is coming down hard on tax cheats. As these cases show, we’ll tackle anyone committing tax fraud, regardless of how well resourced, well advised, or well organised. These ten prosecutions are among the most significant cases we’ve handled this year, and they reflect the wide range of work carried out by HMRC.

Tax evasion isn’t a victimless crime: it is stealing money from our vital public services and it undermines honest traders. We’re working hard to take the profit out of organised crime, create a level playing field for honest businesses, and use the full range of our powers and capability to ensure that no one is beyond our reach.

HMRC uses the full range of both criminal and civil powers to investigate tax cheats, and is successful in more than 90% of the prosecutions undertaken. However, work doesn’t stop there – HMRC always looks to recover the proceeds from any crime committed.

Notes for editors