HMRC targets wealthy tax cheats with Northern Ireland taskforce

A TASKFORCE TARGETING wealthy tax cheats in Northern Ireland has been launched by HM Revenue and Customs.

HMRC is using Land Registry and Merchant Acquirer data to identify those with “badges of wealth” such as large houses, aeroplanes, boats and undeclared offshore bank accounts which are not in-keeping with the information they report to HMRC.

The taskforce is expected to recover nearly £18m and will bring together specialist officers from across HMRC to identify wealth indicators and cross reference them with the data HMRC holds about their owners.

HMRC’s taskforce lead Ian McCafferty said: “Our intelligence shows that people being targeted by this taskforces have no intention of playing by the rules and could end up facing a heavy fine or even a criminal conviction. Those who pay the tax they are supposed to have nothing to worry about.

“Using the information we hold, we can target people whose lifestyle does not reflect the tax they are paying. It’s not fair that a small minority are living the millionaire lifestyle as a result of them not paying their tax, while the rest of us live within our means and pay our fair share.”

Taskforces usually operate in “short, sharp bursts of activity” in targeted areas of the country and perceived high-risk industries.

Previous targets include the jewellery trade in the Midlands and fast food outlets in East Anglia have also found themselves in the taxman’s crosshairs.

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.

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