HMRC issued a press release 12 February 2013 advising “tax cheats” in London and the South East that they will be targeted by a new taskforce.
The taskforce will put the spotlight on people abusing the Self Assessment system fraudulently to claim back money they are not entitled to. It is expected to recover £6 million and prevent future fraudulent repayments being claimed.
David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said:
“This taskforce is targeting people who are not playing by the rules. Most of us pay what we should. We have made it clear that we will not tolerate tax evasion and will crack down on those who break the rules.
HMRC is on track to collect more than £50 million as a result of taskforces launched in 2011-12. We expect over £90 million from this year’s taskforces.”
HMRC’s Jennie Granger, Director General Enforcement and Compliance, said:
“Most people and businesses voluntarily comply, so it is important we deal firmly with those who don’t.
Up to 400 people will be targeted by this taskforce. The message is clear - if you choose to defraud the tax system or seek to evade tax, we can and will track you down. You will face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well.”
Taskforces tackling tax evasion in Northern Ireland, the jewellery trade in the Midlands and fast food outlets in East Anglia were also launched on the same day.
Taskforces are specialist teams that undertake intensive bursts of activity in specific high risk trade sectors and locations in the UK. The teams may visit traders to examine their records and carry out other investigations.