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HMRC launches five new anti-evasion task forces

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HMRC has announced the launch of five new task forces to tackle tax evasion by:

  • scrap metal dealers in Scotland, focusing on those who are deliberately suppressing their income or inflating expenditure to evade tax;
  • construction traders who are self employed or run their own company who suppress sales or over-claim expenses in the North West and North Wales;
  • taxpayers not submitting returns for corporation tax, income tax self assessment, PAYE and VAT in the South East;
  • fast food outlets in Scotland deliberately falsifying records and ‘mis-declaring true sales levels’; and
  • landlords ‘owning or renting three or more properties’ evading their tax responsibilities in North West and North Wales.

The task forces are ‘specialist teams that undertake intensive bursts of compliance activity in specific high risk trade sectors and locations across the UK’, HMRC said.

They typically focus on groups of up to around 600 ‘customers’.

Task forces were launched earlier this year to target restaurants in London, the North West of England and Scotland, and fast food outlets in London.

Grant Summers, Tax Partner at Grant Thornton, said: ‘HMRC has been using its information powers and researching industries to identify those that are more likely to harbour tax evaders.

‘These task forces demonstrate HMRC's warning that there is no hiding place for undisclosed income and gains and that it will clamp down very hard on anyone who does not have their affairs in order. Failure to do so will run the very serious risk of prosecution when the designated task force identifies an anomaly.’