HMRC has launched a taskforce expected to recover £3.6 million by tackling tax dodgers in the fishing industry in Scotland.
The taskforce will cover all areas of the Scottish fishing industry, including tax evasion by crews, fishing vessel owners and fish processors.
The taskforce will target offenders by using all intelligence and third party information sources available to HMRC.
HMRC will also work closely with Police Scotland, Immigration Enforcement, Border Force and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority in a multi-agency approach to identify occurrences of migrant labour abuse either through fraudulent access to benefits and public services or by exploitative employers.
David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said:
The vast majority of people working in the Scottish fishing industry are law-abiding people who pay the right taxes at the right time but their livelihoods are often undermined by those who do not play by the rules.
We are determined to support those hardworking people who want to get on in this industry and every other. However, the people being targeted by this taskforce have no intention of playing by the rules. The Government has made it clear that we will not tolerate tax evasion and we have provided HMRC with the resources to crack down on those who break the rules.
HMRC has collected more than £80 million as a result of taskforces launched in 2011-12. It expects to bring in over £90 million per year from taskforces launched over the next three years.
HMRC’s Jennie Granger, Director General Enforcement and Compliance, said:
Our message is clear - if you seek to evade tax or defraud the tax system, HMRC can and will track you down. You will face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well.
Collaboration with other Government departments and agencies will mean there is a co-ordinated approach to risks in this industry.
HMRC taskforces tackling tax evasion in the holiday industry in Blackpool, the Lake District and North Wales, restaurants in Lincolnshire and Tyneside, and road hauliers in Milton Keynes, Oxford and Northampton 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.
If you suspect someone is evading their taxes, you can tell HMRC via the Tax Evasion Hotline by phone, on 0800 788 887, or report fraud to HMRC online