Rise in dawn raids on suspected tax evaders

The number of property raids by tax investigators has tripled to a record high

The number of property raids by tax investigators has tripled to a record high since 2011 as they ramp up attempts to crack down on tax evasion.

In the year to the end of April searches by HMRC jumped 12 per cent to 500, a figure three times higher the number of property raids that the Revenue undertook each year between 2008 and 2011.

Jason Collins, head of tax at Pinsent Masons, said: “HMRC is making a huge effort to up the ante against tax evasion, raiding more properties and arresting more suspects to keep up with its criminal prosecutions target.”

And with the holiday season coming up, the number of dawn raids could increase. “Raids are often carried out early in the morning to catch suspects off-guard or during holiday seasons when a suspect’s legal advisers might be away,” pointed out Mr Collins.

Tax teams that undertake property raids have the right to search individuals and many will have the power to make arrests without the presence of a police officer or the need to seek an arrest warrant.

HMRC’s target is to prosecute 1,165 people for tax evasion in 2014-15, five times more than its 2010 target of 250 prosecutions.

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