HM Revenue & Customs have announced that it is about to begin the recruitment of 100 individual inspectors to join the Affluent Compliance Team, which was set up to investigate the tax affairs of wealthy individuals.
Once these inspectors are recruited, in addition to taxpayers with an annual income of more than £150,000 and wealth of between £2.5m and £20m, the unit will also cover those with wealth in the range £1m to £2.5m and the department estimates that it will pertain to around 300,000 people in the UK.
Described as the team that is ‘dedicated to ensuring the better off play by the rules, the Affluent Compliance Team had already brought in an extra £75m in tax by the end of December and has a target of £586m by the end of 2015.
There are currently 200 members of staff on the unit in six locations across the UK and Exchequer Secretary David Gauke said of the team that is was set up from some of the £917m the department raised in 2011.
According to the Director of the Affluent Teams, Roger Atkinson, new team members will be recruited both from within the department and externally and it is expected that the new team will be fully operational by April.
Although there is a vast difference between net worth of £2.5m and £20m, according to HMRC there are common characteristics between the department’s targets.
These people are likely to regularly use tax avoidance schemes, have property portfolios both at home and abroad and will fail to file their self-assessment returns on time.
In addition, the department says, their wealthy targets often have bank accounts in Switzerland, appear to understate their tax liability and avoid or evade Stamp Duty on property purchases and have a low effective Rate of Tax across their total income.