HMRC starts campaigns to target tax cheats

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TWO major campaigns have been launched in the south east in an attempt to recover more than £6.5m in unpaid tax.

In the first initiative, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will target individuals they believe are deliberately hiding their wealth or who are living beyond their obvious means.

HMRC is increasingly using technology to catch tax evaders, matching records with property details to single out discrepancies.

Stephen Barratt, private client tax director at accountants and business advisors James Cowper, said: ‘HMRC is using increasingly sophisticated software to identify those who are not paying sufficient tax and the chances of going undetected are therefore diminishing.

‘Our private lives are increasingly being lived out in public and this campaign offers businesses and private individuals the opportunity to come forward and voluntarily pay any unpaid tax.’

The second campaign will target road haulage companies HMRC believes are not declaring all of their income and who are benefiting from selling untaxed fuel.

Ruth Corkin, VAT senior manager at James Cowper, adds: ‘Unusually, HMRC is not only focusing on private individuals. It is at the same time turning its attentions on road haulage companies and examining the VAT records of many other businesses in the south east.’

James Cowper advises we should not ignore this clampdown and that it is possible HMRC are already aware of people’s financial details.

It concludes by saying that if HMRC make the first move because no voluntary disclosure has been made, expect the financial penalties to be more severe.