On 7th November HMRC released 5 separate press releases announcing the launch of 5 taskforces aimed at various parts of the UK focusing on varying potential areas of evasion. In brief the areas identified are as follows:
North West and North Wales:
1) Landlords who own and/or rent more than three properties.
2) Those in the construction industry who are self employed or who run their own companies, where under-stating of sales or over-claiming expenses is identified.
The South East
HMRC will be targetting those who they believe know exactly how much money they owe to HMRC but are deliberately not submitting the necessary declarations. This is after HMRC has identified this as an area with an increasing problem of taxpayers not submitting their statutory returns across Corporation Tax, Income Tax, Self Assessment, PAYE and VAT.
1) Scrap metal dealers who are deliberately under-stating their income or inflating expenditure to evade paying the correct liabilities. They are also targetting any that may not have registered their business with HMRC.
2) Fast food outlets who they believe to be deliberately falsifying their records and/or undeclaring their sales in order to evade paying the correct amount of tax. If the business is selected for this review it will also have its National Minimum Wage compliance reviewed - double whammy!
Taskforces are specialist teams that use resources from various other HMRC complaince teams to undertake intensive reviews that focus on trade sectors and locations across the UK that HMRC consider to be "high risk".
These taskforces are the result of the Government’s £900m spending review to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud from 2011/12 and the aim is to raise an additional £7bn each year by 2014/15.
HMRC has announced it is planning 12 taskforces in 2011/12, with more to follow in 2012/13.
Mike Wells, HMRC's Director of Risk and Intelligence, said: “These taskforces will come down hard and fast on those who have chosen to break the rules and deliberately evade the taxes they should be paying. Honest businesses, however, have absolutely nothing to worry about.
“HMRC is clear – if you deliberately seek to evade tax we can and will track you down and you’ll face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well.”
You have been warned!