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HMRC launches latest tax avoidance campaigns

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HMRC is set to launch various new campaigns throughout the coming year as it continues its drive to clamp down on those who attempt to dodge the taxman.

Higher rate taxpayers and those failing to make tax returns will come under HMRC’s spotlight, as will trades people in the home improvement market and e-marketplace traders selling direct to others.

The tax authority will use new web technology to scour the internet for any liable information about specific targeted groups and businesses.

In addition to existing and ongoing campaigns that have targeted offshore investments, medical professionals and private tutors, HMRC will now focus on:

  • An extension of its plumber’s campaign that will target traders – specifically builders and electricians – allowing them to come forward and declare unpaid tax.
  • An E Marketplaces campaign focusing on those who buy and sell bulk goods direct online as a trade or business but fail to pay the tax owed.
  • An on-going drive to tackle missing tax returns and those who are liable to pay higher tax rates.

As usual, the authority is giving these workers the option to come forward voluntary and settle any outstanding tax, or risk facing heavier fines when the campaign ends.

Marian Wilson, of HMRC’s Risk and Intelligence, said: “Using new technology, we have been able to analyse returns to HMRC covering a range of taxes and to cross-reference these with other information to build a picture of where we believe we have taxpayers with missing returns.

“We are offering all the people targeted the opportunity to come forward. Penalties will be higher if we come and find people after the opportunity. A criminal investigation may also result. I therefore urge them to disclose unpaid tax voluntarily.”

HMRC’s clamp down coincides with an announcement made by the Treasury today who, in a joint statement with the Governments of the United States and some EU countries, will aim to combat cross-border tax evasion.