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Super-rich taxed £220m more
The taxman collected an extra £220m from Britain’s super-rich last year, thanks to a new taskforce set up to pursue high-earning tax avoiders.

HM Revenue & Customs’ high net-worth unit recovered 10pc more last year than in 2011, when it collected £200m from the 5,800 weathiest taxpayers, who each had assets worth more than £20m.

It takes the total raised by the unit to more than £500m in the past three years alone.

The unit was set up in 2009 as part of efforts to stamp out legal but aggressive tax avoidance. It employs 380 staff in eight different cities, from Birmingham to Bradford and Cardiff.

The Chancellor has set aside almost £1bn for the tax office, despite the continuing austerity measures, in the expectation that it will raise an extra £7bn over the next few years.

The high net-worth unit is part of that team. Any tax raised by the team is over and above the tax normally collected by HMRC. Sources said that the £22m of tax “would have gone unpaid without the unit’s intervention due to taxpayer error, avoidance or evasion”.

The richest 1pc of the population already pay the bulk of income tax. They paid 26.5pc of all income tax last year. In 2010, the extra revenue the unit brought it was £162m.

The Government has insisted everyone must pay their fair share in tax because those who don’t penalise the honest. It is also threatening a crackdown on the Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands if they are not forthcoming.

• HMRC has almost doubled its use of powers to seize businesses’ assets in order to settle late VAT bills in the past year, says Syscap, the leading independent finance provider.

HMRC used its “distraint powers” to seize assets 4,746 times to speed up the payment of VAT last year, a 98pc increase on the 2,401 times of the previous year.

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