HMRC most wanted list dubbed a ‘huge failure’

Nick Poyntz-Wright FSA regulation

HM Revenue & Customs has arrested just one person from a most wanted list of 20 “tax fugitives” it published last year.

The revelation comes as another 10 people who owe between £120,000 and £10m have been added to the list. Another man was also caught but was added to the list after it was originally published. 

HMRC says as a result of the exercise it has new intelligence on 17 of the alleged offenders and no update on the remaining four.

Shadow Treasury exchequer secretary Catherine McKinnell says the move has been a “huge failure”.

She says: “At a time when families are facing a cost of living crisis it is even more important everyone pays their fair share of tax. The Government needs to do better.”

Defending HMRC’s record on convicting tax evaders on the BBC’s Today programme this morning, Treasury economic secretary Sajid Javid said the conviction rate for people brought to court for tax evasion is at 92 per cent.

He added: “The original list was viewed over one and a half million times by the public. One was on the run for 13 years and another for ten, and so it shows these fugitives can be out there for many years and go to great lengths to escape justice. We will pursue them relentlessly to make sure they are brought to justice.

“Tax fraud and evasion are illegal and they will not be tolerated.”