An updated briefing which looks at how HMRC deals with wealthy individuals has been published. The briefing looks at helping wealthy individuals to comply with their tax obligations and also what happens to those who don’t play by the rules. According to HMRC, the High-Risk Wealth Programme (HRWP) aims to accelerate the resolution of some of the most complex and high-risk cases within the wealthy customer group.
HMRC defines individuals as ‘wealthy’ if they have incomes of £200,000 or more, or assets equal to or above £2 million in any of the last 3 years. According to HMRC, there are approximately 800,000 wealthy taxpayers. HMRC uses details from tax returns and other public information databases to identify links between people, organisations, assets and income.
Wealthy customers are managed by the Wealthy Team within HMRC’s Customer Compliance Group. The team applies a proactive and co-operative approach, taking into account the unique nature of this customer group’s tax affairs.
According to HMRC, wealthy individuals may present a higher risk of error than other customers as the amounts involved are greater also because they may have investments in more than one country, making their financial affairs more complex.
The Wealthy Team also works with colleagues across HMRC, including Fraud Investigation Service and Counter-Avoidance, handling marketed avoidance schemes and offshore disclosure. This means that HMRC can see a taxpayer's past history including involvement in a tax planning scheme or the use of offshore bank accounts and use this information to help identify taxpayers for further investigation.