Andrew Swan
Andrew Swan

HMRC launch the North East tax evasion taskforce

Short Richardson and Forth LLP wrote back in March 2012 that the Government were announcing the launch of 30 new taskforces to tackle tax evasion. Today sees the launch of the North East taskforce and they are specifically targeting hair and beauty businesses.

The taskforces are expected to recover more than £19.5 million in unpaid taxes. They will be targeting those that do not pay any taxes at all and others who perhaps do not pay the correct amount. They will undertake intensive bursts of activity, which will include unannounced visits to traders to examine their records and carry out other investigations. They may also visit traders’ homes to search for hidden documents.

HMRC’s Mike Eland, Director General Enforcement and Compliance, said: “These taskforces bring together specialists from across HMRC to find people who are not paying what they should. If you have paid all your taxes you have nothing to worry about. But for those deliberately evading tax, be warned that HMRC is coming after you.”

“This is not an empty threat - HMRC can and will track you down if you choose to break the rules. We are on target to collect more than £50 million as a result of taskforces launched in 2011/12.”

Andrew Swan, Head of Financial Crime at law firm Short Richardson & Forth LLP commented: “We have seen a substantial increase in the number of HMRC criminal investigators here in the North East over the course of 2012. Their approach is not random, they will target specific sectors. For instance, the London taskforce is targeting the legal profession, whilst locally it is those in the hair and beauty trade.”

“Tax evasion has become one of the most prosecuted forms of financial crime. I am representing more clients in these investigations and prosecutions than ever before. Anyone in this position should take legal advice as early as possible.”

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