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HMRC launches VAT taskforce

PEOPLE MAKING FRAUDULENT VAT RECLAIMS in Scotland and Northern Ireland are to be targeted as HM Revenue and Customs launches a new taskforce.

Taskforces usually operate in “short, sharp bursts of activity” in targeted areas of the country and perceived high-risk industries. The teams make both announced and unannounced visits to traders to examine their records and carry out other investigations.

HMRC said it has seen “an increased risk of fraudulent VAT repayment claims in Scotland and Northern Ireland, in particular businesses being set up purely for the purpose of making false VAT repayments claims”. It expects this taskforce’s activities to generate around £7m.

Overall, the use of taskforces has collected more than £90m in 2011/12. It expects to bring in a further £90m a year from taskforces launched over the next three years.

HMRC director-general of enforcement and compliance Jennie Granger said: “It is really important that we level the playing field by stopping tax cheats. Deliberately falsifying VAT records can lead to imprisonment. Our message is – do the right thing. If you haven’t already, come clean now. If you don’t, we will find you, investigate you and, not only could you face a heavy fine, but you may face a criminal prosecution as well.”

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