An HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) taskforce has been launched this week in a bid to thwart wealthy tax cheats currently living beyond their means in Northern Ireland.
The tax authority is utilising Land Registry and Merchant Acquirer data to identify those with ‘badges of wealth’ including large houses and estates, aeroplanes, boats and undeclared offshore bank accounts that are not in keeping with the lifestyle and financial income they report to HMRC.
It’s forecast that the taskforce could recoup almost £18 million in hidden tax. The team will consist of specialist HMRC officers tasked with identifying wealth indicators and cross referencing them with the data HMRC currently holds about their owners.
Ian McCafferty, taskforce lead, HMRC, believes the small minority that are living a “millionaire lifestyle” will soon be brought to justice.
“Our intelligence shows that people being targeted by these taskforces have no intention of playing by the rules and could end up facing a heavy fine or even a criminal conviction.
“Those who pay the tax they are supposed to have nothing to worry about.
“Using the information we hold, we can target people whose lifestyle does not reflect the tax they are paying.
“It’s not fair that a small minority are living the millionaire lifestyle as a result of them not paying their tax, while the rest of us live within our means and pay our fair share.
“Earlier this year a separate taskforce used similar HMRC data to identify and prosecute Dr Francis Gerard D’Arcy, a Belfast ear, nose and throat consultant.
“After a successful prosecution, he was sentenced to four concurrent, two-year jail sentences for evading taxes of nearly £500,000.
“This new taskforce will be targeting similar wealthy individuals who have evaded their taxes.”
If you know someone who is evading their taxes, you can call HMRC’s Tax Evasion Hotline anonymously on 0800 788 887.
Did you know?
HMRC no longer need a reason for opening an enquiry into your business or personal tax affairs.
Your local TaxAssist Accountant can help you avoid the threat of a tax investigation by ensuring that your returns are accurate and compliant with the UK tax regime.