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HMRC launches taskforces in holiday and restaurant industries

BUSINESSES operating in the holiday industry in Blackpool, the Lake District, north Wales, Devon and Cornwall and restaurants in the north east are to be targeted in a new wave of HM Revenue & Customs taskforces, with a combined expected yield of around £8.8m.

Taskforces usually operate in “short, sharp bursts of activity” in targeted areas of the country and perceived high-risk industries. HMRC has collected more than £80m through the use of taskforces since they were launched in 2011/12. It expects to bring in over £90m per year from taskforces launched over the next three years.

Some 43 taskforces have been conducted since 2011, with a further 27 are planned for 2013/14 and 30 for 2014/15. Taskforces examining the affairs of road hauliers in the Midlands and the fishing industry in Scotland were also launched today.

The aim is to induce traders in the target industries and areas to voluntarily come forward and settle any outstanding tax liabilities they might have by generating publicity in the local area. Compliance checks are carried out, as well as announced and unannounced visits.

Taskforces are a result of the government’s £917m Spending Review investment to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud from 2011/12, although it is not known what proportion of that budget the taskforces account for. It is hoped, however, it will raise an additional £7bn each year by 2014/15.

Exchequer secretary to the Treasury David Gauke (pictured) said: “We are determined to support hardworking people who want to get on in this industry and every other. However, the people being targeted by this taskforce have no intention of playing by the rules. The government has made it clear that we will not tolerate tax evasion and we have provided HMRC with the resources to crack down on those who break the rules.”

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