5 new Taskforces launched in taxman’s battle against tax dodging

HMRC today announced the setting up of five new special “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.

Taskforces are a direct result of the Government’s £917m spending review re-investment to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud, which aims to raise an additional £7bn each year by 2014/15.  Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs is planning 12 special taskforces in 2011/12, with more to follow in 2012/13.  The taxman’s Taskforces bring together various HMRC compliance and enforcement teams.  They target the perceived highest-risk cases in specific sectors and location, typically focusing on groups of up to 600 taxpayers.

The first taskforces, launched in May this year, targeted the restaurant sector in London, the North West of England and Scotland.  A taskforce aimed at London fast food outlets was launched in July.  The five taskforces announced today have been set up to tackle tax evasion in different areas of the country and in different trade sectors.  They will target:

  • In Scotland: Scrap metal dealers.  The taxman will focus on suspected suppression of income or inflated expenditure;
  • Also in Scotland: Fast food outlets deliberately falsifying their records and mis-declaring their true sales levels;
  • In the North West and North Wales: Builders who are self employed or run their own company and who suppress sales or over-claim expenses;
  • Also in the North West and North Wales: Landlords owning or renting three or more properties.
  • In the South East: Taxpayers not submitting their statutory returns across Corporation Tax, Income tax Self Assessment, PAYE and VAT;

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