HMRC announced on 18 September that one of its task forces will target the legal profession in London. This is the latest in a series of initiatives by HMRC designed to clamp down on tax evasion and reduce the tax gap (the difference between the tax that ought to be paid and that which is paid).
In addition to the London legal task force, other Officers will be focusing on grocery and retail sectors in the North & South Wales, North West and South West England, the hair & beauty sector in the North East, restaurants in the South East and Solent and the motor trade in Scotland.
HMRC have estimated that the task forces should raise in excess of £19.5 million from these initiatives.
The tasks forces are designed to operate ‘short, sharp’ bursts of activity and to concentrate on specific trades in areas which are designated as being high-risk. The teams conduct announced and unannounced visits on businesses, as well as full enquiries into the trader’s affairs and in the most serious of cases may recommend that a criminal investigation should be undertaken.
HMRC are not offering any enhanced terms for making a voluntary disclosure. It is therefore essential that anyone who operates in these sectors and feels that they might be at risk should seek specialist advice to assess their options.
In reality there are a number of solutions for those people who are looking to pre-empt a possible visit from HMRC and if you would like to discuss HMRC’s current initiatives, the available disclosure facilities or would like tax investigation advice please contact TaxDesk on 0845 4900 509 and ask for John Hood or Noel Hankinson.