30 new taskforces launched by HMRC to target tax evasion

HMRC is launching 30 new taskforces in 2012/13 to target businesses that it believes are involved in tax evasion and will include:

  • The rag trade;
  • The motor trade; and
  • Indoor and outdoor markets.

To support the need for the new taskforces HMRC confirmed in its press release on 23 February 2012 that:

  • HMRC expect to recover over £50m from the 12 taskforces launched in 2011/12;
  • Some taskforces have had 100% ‘hit rates’; and
  • 13 criminal investigations are under way.

HMRC will be targeting businesses that have deliberately and knowingly submitted incorrect returns for both direct and indirect taxes.  The taskforces will gather information using HMRC’s formal information powers and will focus on groups of up to 600 businesses in each specific location. 

We specialise in assisting businesses facing the glare of an HMRC investigation and can advise on:

  • how to effectively manage a visit by HMRC;

  • what HMRC are entitled to see and ask for;

  • what HMRC will be looking for when they review the business records;

  • the sources of information HMRC use to check the business records;

  • how to manage meeting requests;

  • resolving disputes;

  • quantifying any unpaid taxes and or duties; and

  • negotiating a money settlement with HMRC.

There is a real risk that businesses that attempt to conceal tax evasion and do not cooperate with HMRC may face a criminal investigation.  To minimise the risk, we recommend that a voluntary disclosure is made to HMRC to protect the owners’ and limit their exposure to penalties, which can be as high as 100% of the tax paid late.

Our dedicated tax and VAT investigation team are experienced in proactively fighting your client’s corner and we make sure we limit the damage when HMRC check your client’s tax affairs.

For further details on how the announcement of the taskforces may affect you and your clients please call the TaxDesk on 0845 4900 509 and ask for John Hood, Vaughn Chown or Noel Hankinson.