How much did HMRC spend on its latest tax evasion case?

Despite reports to the contrary, HMRC claims it cost less than £300,000 to pursue Harry Redknapp and Milan Mandaric for suspected tax evasion.

Accountants in London might be aware that after Redknapp and Mandaric were acquitted on all charges last week, critics said the government had wasted as much as £8 million on the investigation. But HMRC was quick to deny that it had spent an excessive amount on the case.

A Revenue spokesman said that the investigation cost less than £300,000 and anyone who said differently was talking nonsense. Obviously HMRC would rather the outcome of the case had turned out differently. Nevertheless, it was important for a jury to hear the facts, and that did happen.

He went on to say that HMRC conducted its investigations in a professional manner, regardless of whether or not the person in question had a high public profile.

The £300,000 does not take into account police and Crown Prosecution costs which will total an estimated £1 million. Nor does it include legal fees. However, the legal fees are covered on a retainer basis, rather than per individual case.

The Treasury hopes to increase the number of tax evasion prosecutions five-fold by 2015. To help it achieve this, HMRC was granted an additional £900 million last year. HMRC has been doing everything in its power to encourage people to come forward and put their tax affairs in order. We’ve seen offshore disclose facilities and various tax plans targeting specific occupations.

Whilst it’s probably nigh on impossible to stamp out tax evasion completely, the government is definitely giving it their best shot.

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