The Chancellor has today announced new measures to counteract tax avoidance and evasion, including actions targeted at serial avoiders and measures to acquire data from online intermediaries and electronic payment providers to locate people operating in the hidden economy. These actions are expected to be in addition to a package of previously announced tax enforcement measures, such as the direct recovery of tax debts from bank and building society accounts of tax debtors and the introduction of a new criminal offence for corporate failure to prevent economic crimes.

Although the Budget contains little new information in relation to those previously announced measures, the Government has indicated that it will address concerns raised relating to the mechanics of the direct recovery of tax debts by introducing a county court appeal process. The Chancellor’s continued focus on this area is unsurprising, given the goal he set himself in the Conservative Party Manifesto of raising £5 billion from strengthening sanctions for tax avoidance.