Recent figures show that HM Revenue & Customs fined nearly 8,000 more people for deliberate errors on their tax return in the 2015/16 fiscal year.
Data under the Freedom of Information shows that there was a rise of almost forty percent in the number of people fined by the taxman for deliberately understating income on their return.
The data showed that in 2015-16 the taxman issued 28,663 fines for tax return errors, compared with 20,740 in 2014-15.
In the 2012-13 tax year the number of fines issued was just 5,162, which means that the current number of fines has risen by nearly six times in four years.
The spike in penalties could suggest a marked change in the attitude at HMRC and it is apparent that inspectors are now taking a much harder line.
HMRC categorises tax return errors into four areas:
- not deliberate,
- failure to take reasonable care,
- deliberate understatement, and the most severe
- deliberate understatement with concealment.
The size of the fine will ultimately depend on how the error is classified.
The tax office said it did not set targets or quotas on investigators on the level, or type of fine.
If you need help or advice on any tax-related matter, please call us on 01865 244661.