Tom Keighley

Taxman to clamp down on rogue traders

New sector specific task forces of tax inspectors will target the UK trades in a clampdown on tax evasion.

Following last week’s HMRC announcement of a 200 strong team of specialist inspectors, the team will begin to scrutinise scrap metal dealers, landlords and fast food restaurants among other sectors.

The push is intended to robustly investigate traders who are suspected of deliberately falsifying incomes and expenditures in order to evade tax.

Mike Down, Tax Investigations Partner at leading accountants Baker Tilly, said: “This teamwork approach is becoming increasingly widespread and HMRC now seems to be in full flow in coming up with new team-based initiatives.

“HMRC wants people to walk-in with their tax disclosures. They will be more lenient on those who own up.

“However tax defaulters caught out by the new teams can expect to suffer the full force of HMRC’s new powers and penalties regime, including the threat of being publicly named and shamed.”

David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary, said: “We will not tolerate those who break the rules.

“This task force will come down hard on scrap metal dealers and their customers or suppliers who have chosen to break the rules or deliberately evade the tax they should be paying.”

He added that the task forces are a direct result of the government’s £917m spending review re-investment to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud, which aims to raise an additional £7bn each year by 2014/15.

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