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Thirty new UK taskforces to tackle tax evasion

You may or not be aware but as a result of the UK Government’s £917 million spending review, new initiatives have been launched to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud from 2011/12.  The aim is to raise an additional £7 billion each year by 2014/15.Thirty new UK taskforces are being set up to crack down on tax dodgers and will be launched by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in 2012/13.  These will target specific business sectors in specific locations where there is evidence of tax evasion including:

  • The rag trade
  • The motor trade
  • Indoor and outdoor markets.

HMRC expects to collect over £50 million as a result of 12 taskforces launched in 2011/12 and, with 13 criminal investigations under way, this figure is set to rise.

HMRC will also extend some of the taskforces from 2011 to different locations, including the scrap metal taskforce launched in Scotland in November.

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said, “The Government is committed to tackling tax evasion and avoidance. HMRC’s taskforces are cracking down on people who choose to break the rules and creating a level playing field for the majority who play by them……. “It is completely unacceptable, at a time when we are trying to bring down the deficit that, while most hard-working people pay the right tax, there are others who try to get out of contributing their fair share. HMRC has received lots of useful information on its evasion hotlines, which shows that the honest majority are quite rightly fed up with the dishonest minority.”

Richard Summersgill, HMRC’s Director of Local Compliance  said, “Taskforces only target people who are at high risk of breaking the rules and don’t pay the tax they owe. We know we’re going after the right people – some taskforces have hit rates of 100 per cent so far…… Only those who choose to break the rules, or deliberately evade the tax they should be paying, will be targeted. If you deliberately seek to evade tax, HMRC can and will track you down, and you’ll face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well.”

More information is available on the HMRC website, however, if you have any questions about your taxes please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Source: Association of International Accountants, 27 February 2012

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