Private tutors next in line of HMRC’s fire

PRIVATE TUTORS will be the subject of the taxman’s next campaign against tax avoidance, it announced today.

HM Revenue & Customs has said that there is a greater “risk” involved with those who provide private tuition.

It said this campaign will “address the risk posed by all professionals who, because of their field of expertise, are able to earn money from providing tuition and coaching – either as a main or a secondary income”. It will cover people providing private lessons, “regardless of whether they have a teaching qualification, and could include, for example, fitness/dance/lifestyle coaches through to national curriculum subject tutors and others”.

It also confirmed two campaigns to target VAT defaulters who are trading above the £73,000 threshold without registering for VAT and e-marketplaces, such as eBay.

This will be possible because of “cutting-edge tools”, HMRC said, such as “web robot” software to search the internet and find targeted information about specified people and companies. This will be used in conjunction with the “Connect” computer system, which “alerts HMRC to previously invisible tax evasion by matching a vast amount of HMRC and third-party data”.

Mike Wells, HMRC’s director of risk and intelligence, said: “We want to make sure HMRC listens to as many informed views as possible for our future campaigns. We want the views and experience of people and organisations outside the department to play a fuller part in the campaigns that we design for customers.

“We will use the information we gather to pursue people who choose not to use the opportunities we provide for them to put their affairs in order on the best possible terms. It will be more expensive if we come and find people, so I urge them to come forward and disclose voluntarily.”

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