The PCS union estimates that the government loses £70 billion a year through (illegal) tax evasion and £25 billion a year through (legal-but-dodgy) tax avoidance.
Is the "must-cut-the-deficit" Lib/Tory government as eager to squeeze there as it is in benefits and services? Not at all.
Offshore tax dodgers are currently being offered what they call "the best amnesty ever".
Revenue and Customs recently paid millions of pounds to get copies of computer disks stolen from Liechtenstein banks which showed what some super-rich were up to.
Now the tax authorities say that people who own up to undeclared assets need only pay up to 10 yearsback tax or half the usual tariff and a fixed 10 per cent penalty. No threat of jail sentences. The tax-evaders may avoid inheritance tax altogether.
Tax bosses think it makes pragmatic sense to take a "bird in the hand" approach.