Understanding HMRC’s new tax taskforces

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HMRC’s latest crackdown on tax evasion puts all businesses within the focus of sector specific taskforces. It’s a bold new approach, as Gary Brothers, National Director of Tax Investigations and Employer Solutions at Mazars, explains ahead of AAT’s HMRC Investigations CPD mastercourse in Newcastle on 24 November.

Are you, or is one of your clients, a lawyer? A grocer? A motor trader?

If so you may be affected by HMRC’s new approach to investigations, the sector specific taskforce and they aren’t the only sectors due to be affected.

The taskforces are part of HMRC’s main and recent focus to tackle tax evasion by encouraging disclosures of undeclared income in specific business sectors.

Sectors so far targeted under HMRC’s taskforces have included:

  • the Tax Health Plan for doctors and dentists in 2010
  • private tuition professionals in 2011
  • the Plumbers’ Tax Safe Plan in 2011 for tradespeople.

This year, meanwhile, market traders, taxi firms, property investors and restaurant owners have found themselves under HMRC’s gaze.

HMRC’s message so far has been clear: failure to disclose tax irregularities under the numerous disclosure routes can result in prosecution in the most serious of cases.

The recent criminal prosecution of a plumber who failed to disclose earnings under the Plumbers’ Tax Safe Plan supports the message that HMRC fully intends to exercise their powers of prosecution, and is a stark warning to those in future who try to fly under HMRC’s ever-increasing radar.

HMRC have published details of the sectors that they will be targeting in future, and from which £19.5m of unpaid tax is likely to be recovered:

  • The legal profession
  • Grocery and retail
  • Hair and beauty
  • Restaurants
  • The motor trade

These taskforces are both trade- and location-specific, and it should be assumed that HMRC have researched thoroughly where there are likely to be cases of non-disclosure.

Gary Brothers is a tax specialist at Mazars, one of the UK’s leading accounting firms. He’s running an AAT CPD mastercourse on HMRC investigations in Newcastle on Saturday 24 November 2012.

Book your place at AAT’s HMRC investigations CPD mastercourse

Gary Brothers is the owner of Independent Tax.

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