Can I Go To Prison For Not Paying Tax?
We are asked this question frequently and sadly it is an area where we have to give people an answer they do not want to hear.
Yes, you can be sent to prison for not paying tax.
Generally speaking, tax evasion is not a common problem. HMRC estimates that 93% of tax due is paid and this is largely due to the fact that most people are taxed at source – the correct sums are paid at the correct time automatically, usually out of wages.
Where tax evasion does occur however, it is dealt with harshly, and especially during a recession. Tax evasion is a somewhat political issue, with the general public being outraged by the subject at a time when most people are struggling financially but still being taxed.
The Crown Prosecution Service, the HMRC and the court systems are well aware of this, and will respond to public demand to handle such cases robustly.
Tax evasion is estimated to cost the UK economy £14 billion each year and, with this in mind, it is not surprising that the response to tax evasion is being ramped up, including the HMRC and prosecution service’s recent focus on prosecuting those who set up tax avoidance schemes as well as those who evade tax.
Tax evasion is fraud, and it is treated as such. While the media reports on larger, interesting cases such as Operation Galaxy, individuals can find themselves being investigated for, and charged with, tax evasion for much smaller amounts and custodial sentences are a very serious risk.
If you are being charged with or investigated for a revenue fraud, it is vitally important that you seek expert advice immediately. Call our dedicated team now on 01623 397200.