HMRC raises record £23.9bn after targeting tax avoidance

The figure is above the target set out by Osborne in the Autumn Statement

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The Independent Online

The Government collected a record £23.9 billion for the year to March in additional tax as it stepped up efforts to tackle tax avoidance, new figures show.

The figure- the highest since records began- represents a £3.2 billion increase on the previous year and is almost £1 billion above the target set out by Chancellor George Osborne in the Autumn Statement last year.

Of the total amount, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said £8 billion came from large businesses, more than £1 billion from criminals and £2.7 billion from tackling tax avoidance schemes in the courts. HMRC attributed the increase in unpaid tax revenues to "increased activity" by taxmen.

Exchequer secretary David Gauke said: "We set HMRC ambitious targets to increase its yield and the figures published today demonstrate that HMRC is successfully meeting these challenges."

He added: "It also sends a clear signal – HMRC will pursue those seeking to avoid their responsibilities and will collect the taxes that are due."

HMRC said it expects to raise £100 billion between May 2010 and March 2015 stemming from new investigations into tax evasion.