Hudson Contract joined forces with the Financial Times to reveal how the taxman is doubling down on investigations to help pay for the pandemic.
We uncovered the number of new tax probes through a Freedom of Information request to HMRC. Hudson shared the response with award-winning tax journalist Emma Agyemang who broke the story for the leading business newspaper.
HMRC opened just 10,000 investigations in May, compared to 31,000 in the same month of 2019. But the agency has since stepped up the number of investigations, which increased by 40 per cent between June and July to 14,000.
Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson Contract, said: “HMRC helped support businesses with a package of extraordinary measures during the national lockdown but has now switched its focus back to compliance and will be pursuing companies of all shapes and sizes in all sectors to raise vital funds for the exchequer.
“For instance, HMRC has estimated that fraud and error could account for up to £3.5bn of claims made through the coronavirus job retention scheme. Tax investigators will be working hard to recover this money and company directors should be prepared for challenges in the coming months and years.
“The costs for COVID-19 are mounting by the minute and you can bet your house that businesses will be picking up the bill. This exercise shows you can trust Hudson to keep you up to date with the latest developments.”