SELF-ASSESSMENT TAX DODGERS are to be targeted by a HM Revenue & Customs’ taskforce.
Taskforces usually operate in “short, sharp bursts of activity” in targeted areas of the country and perceived high-risk industries. The new operation will be looking at around 400 taxpayers in London and the South-East, with an expected yield of £6m.
Taskforces tackling tax evasion in Northern Ireland, the jewellery trade in the Midlands and fast food outlets in East Anglia are also underway.
The aim is to induce traders in the target industries and areas to voluntarily come forward and settle any outstanding tax liabilities they might have by generating publicity in the local area. Compliance checks are carried out, as well as announced and unannounced visits.
Taskforces are a result of the government’s £917m spending review investment to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud from 2011/12, although it is not known what proportion of that budget the taskforces account for. It is hoped, however, it will raise an additional £7bn each year by 2014/15.
HMRC director-general for enforcement and compliance Jennie Grainger said: “Up to 400 people will be targeted by this taskforce. The message is clear – if you choose to defraud the tax system or seek to evade tax, we can and will track you down. You will face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well.”