U.K. Tax Office Told to Probe $1.9 Billion Alcohol Duty Gap

U.K. tax officials were urged to gather more data on alcohol duty fraud after estimating they may be losing as much as 1.2 billion pounds ($1.9 billion) a year.

Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee concluded in a report published in London today that HM Revenue and Customs wasn’t making the best use of intelligence and technology to cut duty evasion and had had “very few” successful prosecutions.

“Since the criminal gangs who perpetrate major alcohol duty fraud operate across national boundaries, the department needs to strengthen its intelligence,” committee member Richard Bacon, a Conservative Party lawmaker, said in an e-mailed statement. “It should give more weight to the deterrent impact of pursuing perpetrators through the courts.”

Among the knowledge gaps highlighted by the report, the tax authority has no estimate of how much money is lost to duty evasion on wine, according to the PAC.

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