Taxman forms ‘cybercrime team’

A CYBERCRIME TEAM has been launched by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to tackle organised tax fraud more productively.

The new team will be responsible for protecting both HMRC and taxpayers from organised criminals by building on HMRC’s existing cyber counter-fraud capability.

This measure has been taken following the increased number of frauds and the “increasingly sophisticated” ways cyber criminals are using to target HMRC’s repayment systems.

Exchequer secretary David Gauke said that, in the last year alone, customers have reported more than 200,000 bogus emails marked as from HMRC.

“As more and more of HMRC’s systems move online, cyber criminals will look to exploit any opportunity to attack the repayment system.” Gauke added.

ICAS tax director Derek Allen said that the majority of the frauds come from online traders who use sites such as eBay, gumtree and autotrader and this is what the HMRC “web robots” will focus on.

“HMRC’s web robots will map information that indicates online trades. Big Brother is watching. It will be less painful for anyone in doubt to come forward rather than waiting for HMRC to catch up with them. The tax risk areas include income tax, capital gains tax and if VAT was not accounted for in sales.” Allen said.

The new team comes as a result of the Government’s £917m spending review investment to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud from 2011/2012.

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