Britain's top crown prosecutor vowed to clamp down on tax-dodging accountants today, pledging to increase the number of prosecutions fivefold over the next four years.
Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said he was determined to end the "myth" that tax evasion was a victimless crime.
"It is ordinary fraud involving dishonesty and greed. And we all pay for it," he said.
Crown prosecutors had won 550 convictions for tax evasion in 2011, he added.
The tough talk follows figures in November showing about 2,300 different tax avoidance schemes in Britain, with more than 100 new ones every year, according to the National Audit Office.
Meanwhile HM Revenue and Customs had a backlog of 41,000 cases worth a combined £10.2 billion.
Campaigning tax expert Richard Murphy welcomed Mr Starmer's comments and said it was time authorities treated tax evasion schemes like the crimes they were.
But Mr Murphy said he was disappointed the Revenue had refused to ramp up investigations of transfer pricing and similar avoidance schemes - typically the preserve of major corporations.
Only £1bn worth of such schemes were investigated in 2012 when the trade was worth hundreds of billions of pounds every year.
He said: "How come so little is looked at? Could it be because HM Revenue & Customs has just 65 transfer pricing specialists?"
A spokesman for the tax officers' union PCS agreed.
"While chasing down big business and wealthy individuals ought to be the priority, any effort is welcome to tackle tax avoidance and evasion to claw back the tens of billions lost to our public finances every year.
"But the government also needs to match its rhetoric with action and provide HMRC with the resources it needs," he said.