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Are HMRC are getting touch in their approach to tax avoidance?

HMRC have been talking tough with regard to tax avoidance for a number of years but do the numbers backup the hard talk?

Thomson Reuters data seems to back this up with an increase in the number of people being pursued through the courts for tax evasion being up almost a third in 2013/14 to 795 compared with the tax year before and is expected to rise to well over a 1000 for 2014/2015.

HMRC seem to be targeting tax evaders who fail to declare offshore income or gains. HMRC now need only to be able to show the money held offshore was taxable and undeclared as opposed to the old rules where the person holding the offshore income had intended to avoid tax.

HMRC are now also using criminal prosecutions which may have a deterrent effect on tax evaders.