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HMRC names tax defaulters

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has taken a public approach to combating tax evasion by publishing the names of deliberate tax avoiders.

The department is looking to put off those considering tax evasion or non-compliance over the next few years by naming those who have done it in the past.

This, it believes, will help create a level playing field where everyone pays their fair share of tax and will make it easier to target the minority who look to evade tax.

Indeed, HMRC has been given the powers to publish names in an attempt to deter UK taxpayers who are deliberately defaulting from their tax obligations and will do so on their website every quarter.

David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said this move will send a message to those who think they can get away with it and not be caught.

"HMRC is dedicated to clamping down on the small minority of people who break the law, and finding and taking action against tax cheats who try to evade their responsibilities," he noted.

"The publication of these names sends a clear signal that cheating on tax is wrong and reassures people who pay their taxes - the vast majority - that there are consequences for those who refuse to tell HMRC about their full liability.

"It also encourages defaulters to make a full and prompt disclosure and cooperate with HMRC to avoid being named."

HMRC defines a deliberate defaulter as somebody who incurs a relevant penalty for an inaccuracy in a return or document for a tax period beginning April 1st 2010.

Furthermore, it includes anyone who fails to notify the department of a liability to tax, along with a VAT or excise wrongdoing that occurred after the same date.

Names will only be published for 12 months, while details will only come to the public's attention if all appeal routes against the related tax and penalties are exhausted by HMRC.

Posted by Thomas Fletcher

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