Latest round of compliance taskforces announced by HMRC
Throughout 2012, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) launched new taskforces to challenge tax evasion.
Who are the likely targets?
HMRC has announced that taskforce targets will include:
- rag traders in the Midlands, North Wales and North West of England
- the alcohol industry in Scotland
- jewellery trade in the Midlands
- property rentals in East Anglia, London, Yorkshire and the North East
- restaurants in the Midlands
- lawyers in London
- grocery and retail trade in North Wales, South Wales, the North West and the South West
- restaurants in the South East and Solent
- Scottish motor trade.
The taskforces were launched as part of the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review, in which it announced that £917 million would be made available to tackle tax evasion. The aim is to raise an additional £7 billion each year by 2014/15.
Key features of taskforces
- Set up with the remit to support HMRC's strategy to tackle tax evasion using local knowledge and risk profiling
- Teams formed across HMRC, including criminal investigations, specialist investigations and local compliance
- Some cases may take an extended period of time to finalise
- There is no formal disclosure opportunity
- Cases will include a review of all taxes – income, corporate, VAT, PAYE and NIC.
What are the potential consequences of a taskforce enquiry?
- HMRC has access to a full range of civil and criminal sanctions to use against those found to be evading tax. To deter others from tax evasion, taskforces will publish the names of tax evaders, under the Publishing Names of Deliberate Defaulters initiative
- If a business is investigated by one of HMRC’s taskforce it can be stressful, time consuming and will involve extensive searches through business and tax records
- Anyone concerned about the risk of an HMRC enquiry, and believes they may have some tax to pay, should consider coming forward and making an unprompted disclosure to HMRC. This could result in half the penalty HMRC would usually charge after an enquiry.
How can Grant Thornton help?
Grant Thornton’s award winning National Tax Investigations team are specialists when it comes to dealing with tax enquiries. The team has extensive experience of helping clients through cases and negotiating with HMRC, whether the client makes a disclosure or HMRC starts an investigation. The team seeks to secure a fair outcome for the client, whatever the circumstances. Contact us now for a free preliminary consultation.