HMRC has increased its investment in specialist staff as it intensifies its crackdown on the underpayment of tax by the ‘mass affluent’. The Revenue’s Affluent Unit, which was first set up in 2011, has increased its headcount by 54% over the last two years, and now employs over 300 people.
HMRC’s Affluent Unit was set up to investigate taxpayers on an income of over £150,000 per year or net wealth of over £1million. Many moderately wealthy professionals and businesspeople come under its remit.
The increased manpower means more and more taxpayers from this group are likely to find themselves under scrutiny; the Revenue has significantly enhanced its ability to identify potential targets for investigation.
A number of factors are likely to attract the attention of HMRC’s Affluent Unit. Some common ‘red flags’ include possession of any property or bank accounts offshore, a particularly low rate of income on total assets or the late filing of self- assessment tax returns.