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UK tax crackdown pockets $40 billion

Floortje | E+ | Getty Images

A high-profile clampdown on tax avoidance in the U.K. has led to record amounts being won in investigations by the taxman.

In the year to April, HM Revenue & Customs collected a record £23.9 billion ($40.3 billion) in unpaid tax, following investigations, a 15 percent jump on the previous year.


Read MoreUS tax policy a 'sin:' Jack Welch

This includes more than £8 billion from big businesses, £2.7 billion from courts tackling avoidance schemes, and £1 billion from criminals.

Celebrities like Gary Barlow, X Factor judge and singer with boy band Take That, have been ordered to repay millions after tax avoidance.

Read MoreTake That latest celebrities to find taxman lacks patience

There has also been controversy around the tax affairs of Starbucks and Amazon, with the coffee chain agreeing to start paying U.K. corporation tax after an outcry against its low tax bill.

Read MoreBacklash over Starbucks tax avoidance

David Gauke, the U.K.'s exchequer secretary, said the results were a "clear signal" HMRC "will collect the taxes that are due."

The agency has taken on more external debt collectors to help harden its approach to debtors.

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