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Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Did you hear the one about...

03 October 2012

The London lawyer, the Newcastle beautician, the Welsh shopkeeper and the Scottish motor dealer?  They owe tax of £19.5M … or so HM Revenue & Customs maintains.

These are some of the latest targets in HMRC’s taskforce initiative.  In HMRC’s own words ‘taskforces are specialist teams that undertake intensive bursts of activity in specific high-risk trade sectors and locations in the UK’.  The tax-dodging Scottish motor traders are seen to be good for at least £3M; a tad less than the additional contribution to the Exchequer that HMRC are expecting from the London lawyers it seems.

Previous taskforces have concentrated on plumbers and electricians amongst others, some of whom were subject to criminal prosecution and custodial sentence.  HMRC has also just launched the Direct Selling campaign (Tupperware and all that) which will run until early next year, inviting anyone involved to come forward in that time and disclose any undeclared income.

A less publicised area of interest is what is known as the Mortgage Verification Scheme under which mortgage lenders suspecting fraud send applicants’ financial details to HMRC for checking.  HMRC, no doubt particularly interested where a higher income appears on the application than on the tax return, has admitted that tax enquiries have been opened on the back of some of the information received.

Tax evasion is illegal and cannot be condoned and HMRC is taking appropriate action to pursue the culprits.  However, in order to reach the tax evaders, many taxpayers who have fully disclosed income and attended properly to their tax affairs (probably with the benefit of professional advice) may still have HMRC visits and see enquiries opened.  While HMRC turns up the heat, Springfords clients with the benefit of the Fee Protection Scheme will be able to rest easy.


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