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Tax Avoidance: Lots of Efforts, But Less Reward for HMRC

17th November 2021

In the U.K., Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, or HMRC as we like to say, is never shy about its stance against tax avoidance, tax evasion, and noncompliance. And while it has made steadfast efforts to make individuals and corporations aware of its position, the benefits aren’t always, well, beneficial. Take last year, for example. Last year’s tax avoidance efforts earned the U.K. government $8.8 billion less than the previous fiscal year—an 18% drop—according to a recent report. And that’s the good news: Between April 2020 and March 2021, the government collected £28 billion (roughly $38 billion) less in total tax revenue than the year before. Of the £608.8 billion total revenue collected (that’s about $824 billion), only £30.4 billion ($41 billion) stemmed from efforts to prevent tax avoidance. Compliance efforts fell, too, mostly due to a decline in huge cases with big payouts and from HMRC taking on—and wrapping up—fewer cases. Blame the pandemic, lack of resources, and/or the U.K.’s economy for the lackluster performance. Just don’t assume these numbers will deter any efforts by HMRC to prevent tax avoidance in the future.