On 19 September 2014, HMRC announced that they had launched two taskforces specifically aimed at fraudulent claims for VAT repayments. Between them, the taskforces are targeting the areas of Nottingham, Birmingham, Coventry, Stoke and Wolverhampton and HMRC aim to recover nearly £7m.
These are the latest in a series designed to clamp down on tax evasion – since 2011, HMRC has launched 70 taskforces and plans to introduce another 30 in 2014 and 2015.
Each comprises a specialist team of compliance and enforcement experts who target specific regions and trade sectors, which are considered to have a high chance of tax evasion. Although these are regional taskforces, any trader with clients or suppliers in these areas should be aware that they may be approached by HMRC with information requests.
HMRC will phone companies and/or visit business premises where they believe there might be a high risk of fraud. In these instances, it is important that taxpayers know their rights and obligations in terms of the provision of information to HMRC because although HMRC have the right to inspect the business records and premises, they are also required to operate within strict guidelines and follow certain procedures. By understanding your clients’ rights, you can limit the damage of an inspection.
Gabelle specialises in offering practical and strategic advice on how to respond to requests for information from HMRC and how to protect your clients. If you believe that you or your clients might be affected by these announcements please contact TaxDesk on 0845 4900509 and ask for John Hood.