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This in from Qdos Peninsula Taxwise, who underwrite our Professional Expenses Cover scheme (formerly Tax Enquiry Insurance):

HMRC’s “Taxforces” Hit The Road

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 the North West and North Wales there will be two separate taskforces. The first will target tax evasion amongst landlords who own and/or rent more than three properties. The second will be focused on construction traders who are self employed or who run their own companies, where suppression of sales or over-claiming expenses is identified.

The South East is an area where HMRC has identified that there is an increasing problem with some taxpayers not submitting their statutory returns across Corporation Tax, Income Tax, Self Assessment, PAYE and VAT and the taskforce will be focused on this area. Whilst business activities may have ceased in some cases, or there may in fact be no tax liability, HMRC will be targeting those who are fully aware how much money they are due to pay but have made the conscious decision not to submit the necessary declarations.

In Scotland the taskforces will again target two separate areas. The first will be scrap metal dealers who are deliberately suppressing their income or inflating expenditure to evade paying the correct liabilities, and any that may not have registered their business with HMRC. The second group to come under the spotlight will be fast food outlets deliberately falsifying their records and mis-declaring their true sales levels to avoid paying the correct taxes. As part of this activity any business coming under inspection will also have its National Minimum Wage compliance reviewed.
Taskforces are specialist teams that bring together various HMRC compliance and enforcement teams to undertake intensive bursts of compliance activity, typically focusing on groups of up to around 600 taxpayers/businesses, in specific high risk trade sectors and locations across the UK.

These taskforces come as a result of the Government’s £900m spending review re-investment to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud from 2011/12, which aims 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.”