HMRC taskforces pull in £109m in six months

Specialist taskforces targeting sectors identified as being at the highest risk of tax fraud have brought in £109m in the last six months, according to HMRC figures which show that £64.9m was recovered in the first three months of this year, more than double the figure for the same period in 2014

Between April and October 2015, HMRC launched 27 new taskforces aimed at areas which included income tax self assessment (ITSA) repayments and the retail, hidden wealth and grocery sectors, with one taskforce alone generating 22 arrests.

First launched in spring 2011, over 100 taskforces have produced a yield of over £404m. Taskforces bring together various HMRC compliance and enforcement teams for intensive bursts of activity targeted at specific sectors and locations.  The teams visit traders to examine their records and carry out other investigations where there is evidence of high risk of tax evasion and fraud.

They are separate from the campaigns which HMRC also runs, which are designed to give individuals within specific categories the opportunity to make voluntary disclosures about tax which may be owing. HMRC recently said it had run 20 campaigns which together have generated over £1bn across a variety of sectors, when it announced that the Let Property Campaign announced in 2013 has produced a total so far of £50m recovered from buy-to-let landlords.

Jennie Granger, director general for enforcement and compliance at HMRC, said: ‘The message is clear if you try to cheat on your tax we are going to catch you – it’s only fair that we all pay what we should to fund public services.

‘We have increasing amounts of intelligence, and are using state of the art digital tools to help us to identify and target high risk areas. This yield of £109m – almost double the figure for the same period in 2014 - shows that our strategy is working.’

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Pat Sweet |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2010-2021]

Pat Sweet was the former online reporter at Accountancy Daily and contributor to the monthly Accountancy magazine, pub...

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