HMRC chasing £1.9bn in UK taxes from richest citizens

According to figures from the National Audit Office (NAO), HMRC is chasing almost £2 billion in potentially owed taxes from the UK’s richest citizens.

The public spending watchdog said that HMRC's specialist unit recovered £416 million in 2015 from 6,500 ‘high net worth individuals’ with a wealth of more than £20 million. However, efforts are still ongoing to recover around £1.9 billion.

Of the 6,500 individuals, each is assigned their own HMRC official to liaise with over their tax bill.

The NAO report also found that the HMRC is criminally investigating 10 high net worth individuals in relation to illegal offshore tax evasion, although just one has been prosecuted since 2010.

The unit recovers £29 for every £1 spent on staffing costs.

Labour MP Meg Hillier MP, chairwoman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said the ‘customer relationship managers’ might sound like ‘rather a cosy way for HMRC to engage with the richest people in the country.’

But she added: "I am pleased to see HMRC is beginning to link these individuals to the businesses and trusts they are also involved in, to help tackle the £1.9 billion of tax that is potentially at risk."