HMRC is clamping down on the promoters and enablers of tax avoidance scheme as prison sentence lengths for tax evasion rose by 1% on average last year.
Penny Ciniewicz, HMRC's director general of customer compliance, said "We have more than 100 current investigations into promoters [and enablers] and we're keeping a very close eye on the market for avoidance.
This includes companies and people ranging from the designers of schemes to accountants and financial advisers who recommend the schemes to their clients.
We have more than 100 current investigations into promoters [and enablers] and we're keeping a very close eye on the market for avoidance"
"We are spotting schemes as they emerge and we're tackling them," she added. Ciniewicz was speaking at a Treasury select committee evidence session, as the FTAdviser reports.
The move comes as the taxman takes a harder line against those dodging payments. The average sentence for the deliberate non-payment of tax rose to two years and seven months in 2018 - an increase of two months on 2017's figures - according to law firm Pinsent Masons.
"Longer prison sentences are a clear message from HMRC - it will not tolerate tax evasion," said Steven Porter, partner at Pinsent Masons.
The firm said HMRC and the Crown Prosecution Service have been pushing for instances of tax evasion to be considered in more serious categories of offence. This is in response to a parliamentary report in 2016, which criticised the Revenue for being too lenient.
Porter added "HMRC is using its full range of powers to claw back the money that it is owed, making an example of tax evaders by pushing for longer sentencing lengths is a part of its method to deter future tax cheats."
Just over a thousand people were charged with tax evasion in the year to the end of March 2018. Since 2010, more than 5,4000 people have been convicted over the offence. The maximum fine for income tax evasion in the UK is seven years.