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Prison terms for tax evasion increase 10%

The average prison sentence length for tax evasion in the UK is now more than two and a half years

In the past year it has risen from two years and five months to two years and seven months, according to research from 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 says 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 adds, “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.”

There were 1,010 individuals charged with offences relating to tax evasion in 2017/18.

Originally published in Economia on 14 October 2019.