More than £2bn in disputed tax has been collected under the accelerated payments rules since their introduction in 2014, HMRC has announced.
Under the rules, users of tax avoidance schemes have to pay disputed tax up front while their tax affairs are investigated, instead of waiting until the conclusion of any proceedings. As HMRC wins 80% of cases that go to court – not counting settlements reached at an earlier stage – this represents substantial additional receipts to the Treasury at an early stage.
HMRC is now issuing over 3,000 accelerated payment notices a month, and has issued over 41,000 notices since accelerated payments were introduced. By the end of 2016, HMRC expects to have completed issuing notices, bringing forward over £5bn in payments for the Exchequer by March 2020.
Taxpayers retain full appeal rights, and if a case is taken to litigation and the taxpayer ultimately wins, HMRC will repay the tax with interest.
Financial Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke said: “We will not tolerate tax avoidance and accelerated payments has been a real game changer.
“HMRC already wins the vast majority of cases that go to court and now HMRC has taken more than £2bn from tax-avoiders who would have otherwise benefitted from that cash while they were being investigated."