HMRC received a total of 1.44 billion pounds last year from collecting VAT evasion by large companies. New restrictions were brought about, which instilled stricter penalties. Last year’s revenues were three times greater than those in 2009-2010. Since then the HMRC have been granted more power which means they can are now able to charge additional fees to companies who are not compliant with their examinations.
Because of companies like Amazon and Starbucks who have been condemned for paying low taxes, there have been added pressures on the department to increase its receipts through compliance activities. The government has taken a much firmer position on tax avoidance. VAT in business is being targeted by the HMRC. For example they are targeting traders who import VAT free products and who charge tax on their side but do not provide the HRMC with the available funds.
Under the current system the HMRC can refuse to pay back companies the VAT charges if they believe they were involved in a dishonest activity. However, it is believed that businesses who are not attempting any fraudulent activity are also being targeted and refused the reclaim of VAT payments.