News story

VAT cheats crackdown

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Tax cheats in Scotland and Northern Ireland who try to fraudulently reclaim VAT are being targeted as part of an HMRC taskforce.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has seen an increased risk of fraudulent VAT repayment claims in Scotland and Northern Ireland, in particular businesses being set up purely for the purpose of making false VAT repayments claims. The VAT repayment taskforce – targeted at individuals and businesses – aims to tackle that and is set to bring in £7 million.

Taskforces are specialist teams that undertake intensive bursts of activity in specific high-risk trade sectors and locations in the UK. The teams visit traders to examine their records and carry out other investigations.

David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said:

This Government has made it clear that we will not tolerate tax evasion and has provided HMRC with the resources to crack down on those who break the rules.

We are determined to support hardworking people who want to get on, but the people being targeted by these taskforces have no intention of playing by the rules.

HMRC has collected more than £90 million as a result of taskforces launched since 2011 to 2012. It expects to bring in over £90 million a year from taskforces launched over the next three years.

HMRC’s Jennie Granger, Director General of Enforcement and Compliance, said:

It is really important that we level the playing field by stopping tax cheats. Deliberately falsifying VAT records can lead to imprisonment. Our message is - do the right thing. If you haven’t already, come clean now. If you don’t, we will find you, investigate you and, not only could you face a heavy fine, but you may face a criminal prosecution as well.

If you know anyone who is evading their taxes, you can tell HMRC by calling the Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887.