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 today.
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.
Taskforces are a result of the Government’s £917 million spending review investment to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud from 2011-12, which aims to raise an additional £7 billion each year by 2014-15.
If you know anyone who is evading their taxes, you can tell HMRC via the Tax Evasion Hotline by phone, on 0800 788 887, by email or by post.
Notes to editors
Taskforces bring together various HMRC compliance and enforcement teams for intensive bursts of activity targeted at specific sectors and locations where there is evidence of high risk of tax evasion and fraud. The first taskforce targeted the restaurant trade in May 2011. HMRC has launched 35 taskforces since May 2011.
Compliance activity through taskforces is 1:1 and targets the highest-risk cases in a particular sector and location.