The Chancellor announced in March that HMRC were expected to raise £5bn from investigating tax avoidance and evasion.
The announcement in the Summer Budget 2015 that £800m has been ring fenced to recover £7.5bn in tax shows that HMRC intend to dedicate compliance resources to investigate UK residents that have participated in tax avoidance schemes or evaded taxes.
HMRC were criticised by the Public Accounts Committee earlier this year for not prosecuting more people in relation to the HSBC Swiss data provided by the French government and it is not surprising that criminal investigations are set to treble.
To enhance the powers available to HMRC to identify tax evasion, HMRC want the power to formally obtain data from online intermediaries and payment providers on UK resident businesses to ensure that their tax affairs are in order.
HMRC are continually looking at ways to obtain additional information from suppliers and intermediaries that could be used to target tax evasion and the hidden economy. This raises questions about how the information is retained and the safeguards in place to ensure that it is used only for the purpose for which it was obtained.
There will also be an increased focus on businesses and individuals who participate in tax avoidance schemes, with the threat of serial avoiders being named and shamed, as well as surcharges on the most recent tax returns.