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Tax Avoidance

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of levels of tax evasion among white-collar workers; and what steps his Department has taken (a) to recover revenue from taxes which have been evaded and (b) to reduce levels of evasion. (245840)

There are no figures available for the levels of tax evasion by white-collar workers.

The Government are committed to ensuring that the tax system operates fairly and efficiently and clamping down on those who try to cheat the system through evading taxes continues to be a priority. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) risk assess tax returns against their own and third party information and will open an inquiry into those cases where they believe there is a risk of tax evasion.

HMRC continues to improve its approach to tackling evasion. It has made improvements to the identification of evasion through investment in a risk capability and a single referral and escalation mechanism across the taxes. This is underpinned by the recent change in HMRC powers which extends real-time inspection of records to direct taxes as well as a new penalty regime to help deter evasion.