May 27, 2014
Investigations by tax inspectors have collected a record £23.9bn over the last year, according to official figures.
The total was £3.2bn more than the previous year, £9bn higher than three years ago, and nearly £1bn above the target set by the chancellor, George Osborne, in his 2013 autumn statement, HM Revenue and Customs said.
More than £8bn was secured from large businesses, more than £1bn from criminals and £2.7bn from tackling tax avoidance schemes in the courts, it said.
Exchequer secretary David Gauke said: "The government supports the hard-working, honest majority of taxpayers that play by the rules, and is determined to tackle the minority that seek to avoid paying the taxes they owe.
"We set HMRC ambitious targets to increase its yield and the figures published today demonstrate that HMRC is successfully meeting these challenges. It also sends a clear signal – HMRC will pursue those seeking to avoid their responsibilities and will collect the taxes that are due."
Gauke told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme a variety of things had been done to increase the tax yield, including campaigns and better use of technology.
"The staff of HMRC deserve credit for what they have done … the government has been very much backing HMRC. We put in place a reinvestment programme that has contributed to this increase in yield."
Asked about Amazon, which paid just £4.2m in tax last year, despite selling goods worth £4.3bn, he replied: "I don't want to be drawn into individual cases but I do think you can't expect HMRC to collect tax that isn't in accordance with the law. The answer is to make sure we have international reform … the UK has led the way in that process."