VAT fraud on these products costs the government £7.3bn annually.
The scale of the action was revealed in a Treasury response to a Commons Public Accounts Committee report calling on Customs to do more to assess the scale of this and other frauds hitting revenue from VAT, tobacco and alcohol.
Besides targeted investigations, an increased number of checks have been introduced to prevent fraudulent registration and enable earlier identification of fraudsters, the Treasury said.
The Treasury also revealed the Inland Revenue is extending its Taxpayer Filing Initiative to cover the payment of VAT as well as the filing of returns on time.
The Revenue said it has already succeeded in reversing a four-year decline in the proportion of VAT returns filed by January 2002.
Making Tax Digital will impose significant additional tax compliance costs on small businesses for little or no medium term benefit, tax and small business experts told MPs
The drive towards a fully digital tax regime is an admirable one, but mandation is simply wrong, according to one of the UK's most senior tax technology practitioners - Paul Aplin
HMRC has won its tenth successive case against tax avoidance schemes promoted by NT Advisors. The Court of Appeal has ruled that NT ... read more
HMRC is continuing to ramp up the number of raids on premises it carries out as part of criminal investigations, searching 761 properties in the last year