An inquiry has been launched by the Treasury Sub-Committee into the progress made by HMRC in recent years in dealing with tax avoidance and evasion.

This is to enable them to examine:

  • What progress has been made in reducing the amount of tax lost to avoidance and offshore evasion.
  • Whether HMRC has the resources, skills and powers needed to bring about a real change in the behaviour of tax dodgers (sic) and those who profit by helping them.

The inquiry has been opened against the backdrop of public concerns about tax avoidance and HMRC’s attempts to address these in recent years by introducing strategies to reduce the use of tax avoidance schemes, such as the introduction of the GAAR and to deal with offshore evasion such as the Requirement to correct and proposed extension of offshore time limits

The Sub-Committee invites the submission of evidence in response to any of the following questions:

  • To what extent has there been a shift in tax avoidance and offshore evasion since 2010? Have HMRC efforts to reduce avoidance and evasion been successful?
  • Is HMRC adequately resourced and sufficiently skilled to identify, challenge and counteract existing and new avoidance schemes and ways of evading tax? What progress has it made since 2010 in promoting compliance in this area and preventing and responding to non-compliance?
  • What types of avoidance and evasion have been stopped and where do threats to the UK tax base remain?
  • What part do the UK’s Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories play in the avoidance or evasion of tax? What more needs to be done to address their use in tax avoidance or tax evasion?
  • How has the tax profession responded to concerns about its role in aiding tax avoidance and evasion? Where does it see the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable practice lie?

Responses are invited by 31 May 2018 and can be made here


We have seen a lot of changes over the past few years as part of HMRC's strategy to tackle tax avoidance and evasion and it is probably too soon to quantify how effective these have been, for example the Disguised remuneration loan charge does not even take effect until April 2019. It is to be hoped that the result of this inquiry is not simply to introduce yet more legislative changes without pausing to evaluate how successful the current regime really is.