Taxman targets rag trade and alcohol industry in crackdown

by Calum Fuller

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20 Nov 2012

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TASK FORCES focusing on the tax affairs of the rag trade, alcohol industry and property rental sector have been launched this week by HM Revenue & Customs.

The specialist teams, which operate in "short, sharp bursts of activity" in targeted areas of the country and perceived high-risk industries, will be pursuing potential tax dodgers in the rag trade in the Midlands, north Wales and north-west, including manufacturing, wholesale, retail and textile recycling, the alcohol industry in Scotland – in Aberdeen and Inverness – and the property rental sector in the south-east.

The budget for the task forces is part of the £917m earmarked by the government to tackle tax avoidance and evasion, although it is not known what proportion of that budget the task forces take up.

It is hoped news of the spot-checks will encourage traders in the target industries and areas to come forwards voluntarily to settle any outstanding liabilities they might have.

Compliance checks will be carried out, as well as announced and unannounced visits, while invasive investigations and potential criminal proceedings await those who continue to dodge their bills.

The Revenue says it expects this round of task forces to glean approximately £17m from its activities.

HMRC director-general of enforcement and compliance Jennie Granger said: "HMRC is serious about tackling people who are not paying what they should. Anyone deliberately evading tax should watch out – HMRC is closing in on tax cheats."

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