HMRC say tax avoidance could be costing every household more than £1,500 a year

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date: 13 March 2008

embargo: immediate

In a document published late on budget day with no publicity, HMRC has said that the cost of tax avoidance in the UK could run as high as £40 billion a year. This tax avoidance could cost every household in the UK more than £1,500.

The HMRC admission, contained in the report 'Measuring the tax gap - an update', estimates that in 2005 tax avoidance was between £10b and £40b. This figure is even higher than the £25 billion a year estimated by the TUC in it's 'Missing Billions' report. The HMRC say that avoidance has fallen since 2005.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Even if the HMRC claim is true it still leaves huge amounts of unpaid tax by the super-rich - enough to cut taxes for ordinary people, boost public services and do far more to tackle child poverty than the limited measures in yesterday's budget.

'The Government has been hit by concerted lobbying by non-doms and the super-rich, who describe even the mildest attempt to make them pay a fair share of tax as a prelude to the sky falling in on national prosperity. But rather than retreat, ministers should pay more attention to ordinary voters, who are becoming more and more aware that a significant group of Britain's wealthiest people dodge paying fair taxes.

'The Chancellor was wrong to rule out further efforts to tax non-doms. Instead, he should call their bluff when the super-rich exodus fails to materialise, as a result of yesterday's very modest changes.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

The HMRC report 'Measuring the tax gap - an update' is available at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/research/measuring-tax-gap.pdf

The TUC report 'The Missing Billions' is available at www.tuc.org.uk/publications

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: media@tuc.org.uk
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: rholdsworth@tuc.org.uk
Elly Brenchley T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: ebrenchley@tuc.org.uk

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