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Do not hide anything from His Majesty's Revenue and Customs

02 September 2023
Volume 12 · Issue 7


Helen Thornley explains how His Majesty's Revenue and Customs catches tax evaders, further signalling the importance of reporting income fully and honestly as a business

Given the state of the economy, individuals and businesses alike are looking for new ways to generate income and make the most of what they have. While starting a side business or looking for new ways to make money is a sensible move, it's not a wise idea to keep information on new revenue streams from His Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Fundamentally, it is illegal and is tax evasion; those that are caught by HMRC run the risk of having to pay additional and substantial costs in the form of interest and penalties on top of the tax they should have paid in the first place.

In cases that are particularly severe, the evader could go to prison. Crucially, because of the large amount of data that HMRC stores and can access from third parties, there is a high likelihood of catching tax evaders.

The difference between what HMRC believes it ought to collect in tax and what it actually manages to collect is estimated each year. Known as the ‘tax gap’, the estimate for 2020–21 put this amount at £32 billion (HMRC, 2022a).

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