Taxman to target builders and home delivery tax cheats

HOME-IMPROVEMENT tradespeople such as roofers, bricklayers and carpenters, and people who make money from hand-delivered home catalogues are to be targeted by the taxman in the latest campaigns against tax evasion.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigators will also focus on people who fail to complete tax returns, particularly higher-rate taxpayers. HMRC reaffirmed plans to launch campaigns targeted at electricians and people who trade on e-marketplaces such as e-bay.

Previous targets for tax clampdowns have included tutors and coaches, plumbers, medics and offshore bank account holders.

As with previous campaigns the new campaigns will try to encourage people in the targeted groups to come clean about tax owed in return for favourable settlement terms.

HMRC will use new technology to search the Internet for information about targeted people and businesses and cross-reference the information with tax returns.

Accountancy firm PKF welcomed the announcement of new disclosure facilities but questioned whether they were the most cost-effective approach to tackling tax evasion.

John Cassidy, tax investigation and dispute resolution partner at PKF, said that a broader tax amnesty for amnesty for all individuals and the self-employed would be more cost effective because of “economies of scale”.

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