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HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced that it has doubled the number of inspectors trawling through the tax files of individuals earning £150,000 or more.
Until recently, the taxman was mainly investigating ‘high net worth’ individuals – those earning £1 million or more – but now HMRC’s attention has moved to those a little further down the income scale.
The so-called ‘Affluent Unit’, which concentrates on people who earn enough to pay the 45 per cent additional rate of tax, has increased its headcount by 54 per cent in two years, from 213 in 2012/2013 to 327 in 2014/2015.
This growth reflects the new budgets granted to HMRC in the drive to improve revenue collection. It is especially interested in those owning property or bank accounts offshore.
Those paying low rates of tax on total income are also likely to be subject to scrutiny, as are individuals who file self-assessment returns late or anyone who has previously invested in a scheme devised to reduce tax bills.