The announcement comes on the day of the deadline for the second payment on account for the tax year 2002/03 and shows that the department means business. Extra staff will be drafted in to deal with the added workload.
‘Work will start increasing from October,’ said Keith Marshall, a deputy director at government debt collector, the Receivables Management Service.
‘We are doing some of the work already, but we will have all our staff in place by then.’
Gordon Smith, director of the RMS, indicated the determination of his department. ‘If you shove your head in the sand and think we’re going to go away, then you’re mistaken, because we’ll be coming after you over the next three years,’ he said.
Smith said there was several hundred thousand self-assessment taxpayers who have yet to submit forms over the last five years. ‘Fill the damn things out. If you’re having trouble – get in touch,’ he said.
The RMS so far received about two-thirds of the £60m chancellor Gordon Brown pledged to fight tax avoidance and evasion in the spring budget.
This will help reclaim £1.6bn in lost tax revenue over the next three years.
But Smith was at pains to emphasise that it was a particular type of ‘customer’ that his department would be chasing: ‘People that have persistently, and over a period of time, refused any offer of help and ignored our reminders.’
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