HMRC’s has launched the latest tax Taskforce initiatives to target suspected “tax cheats”. In the Midlands: hidden wealth; and, the shadow economy in the 2nd hand motor trade. In London and the South East: security guards, bouncers and their employers; and, the construction industry.
In 2012 HMRC launched a new initiative to tackle non-tax compliance. They have created the concept of special “tax taskforces”. These are specialist teams that carry out intensive bursts of tax compliance activity in specific trade sectors and locations across the UK: focussing on areas that the taxmen see as particularly “high risk” in terms of evaded tax.
Different trade sectors and geographical areas will be announced from time to time. The teams visit traders to examine their records and carry out other investigations. The taskforces will target tax payers in that business sector or location for a period of 3 to 9 months. The taskforces will then move on to other business sectors or areas.
The following taskforces being launched today to tackle tax evasion will target:
- Hidden wealth in the Midlands – including people with offshore bank accounts, and those living lifestyles beyond their declared means, using assets (such as let property) acquired from undeclared income. The taxman aims to recover over £3 million from this source.
- The hidden economy in the second-hand motor trade in the Midlands. That is, car and van dealers who are not declaring any of their income to HMRC. HMRC recovery target: over £3 million.
- Tax cheats in the private security industry – aimed at security guards, bouncers and their employers and focussing on workers in London and the South East; particularly looking for fraudulent VAT repayment claims. Recovery target: £10 million.
- The construction industry in London – recovery target, £3 million.
HMRC has launched 54 taskforces since 2011. A further 16 are planned for 2013/14 and up to 30 for 2014/15. HMRC claims it has collected more than £90 million as a result of taskforces launched since 2011/12, and it expects to bring in over £90 million per year from taskforces launched over the next three years.
A Memorandum of Understanding with the Security Industry Authority was signed with HMRC on 9 September to strengthen the exchange of information between both organisations. This will help HMRC prevent, detect and prosecute criminal activity.
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