Self Assessment (SA) tax cheats in London and the south east will be targeted by a new HMRC taskforce, reports small business accountants Harris & Co.
The taskforce will put the spotlight on people abusing the SA system fraudulently to claim back money they are not entitled to. It is expected to recover £6m and prevent future fraudulent repayments being claimed.
David Gauke, Treasury secretary, said:
‘This taskforce is targeting people who are not playing by the rules. We have made it clear that we will not tolerate tax evasion and will crack down on those who break the rules.’
‘HMRC is on track to collect more than £50m as a result of taskforces launched in 2011-12. We expect over £90m from this year’s taskforces.’
HMRC’s Jennie Granger, director general enforcement and compliance, said:
‘Most people and businesses voluntarily comply, so it is important we deal firmly with those who don’t.’
‘Up to 400 people will be targeted by this taskforce. The message is clear - if you choose to defraud the tax system or seek to evade tax, we can and will track you down. You will face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well.’
Taskforces tackling tax evasion in Northern Ireland, the jewellery trade in the Midlands and fast food outlets in East Anglia were also launched today.
Taskforces are specialist teams that undertake intensive bursts of activity in specific high risk trade sectors and locations in the UK. The teams may visit traders to examine their records and carry out other investigations.
Taskforces are a result of the Government’s £917m spending review investment to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud from 2011-12, which aims to raise an additional £7bn each year by 2014-15.