HMRC tax evasion taskforces recoup £109m in last six months

22nd October 2015

Tax taskforces from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have added a further £109 million to the public purse in the last six months, according to new HMRC data.

The figure includes £64.9 million recovered in the first quarter of the year: more than double the figure for the same period in 2014.

HMRC’s tax taskforces, which exist to deter taxpayers from avoiding the fees they lawfully owe, are designed to operate in short, sharp bursts of activity in targeted regions of the country and within industries perceived to be ‘high risk’ for tax evasion.

The ultimate goal of the taskforces is to encourage taxpayers within target areas and industries to disclose and settle their outstanding tax liabilities voluntarily at advantageous rates.

Compliance checks are carried out by the taskforces, who will make announced and unannounced visits to traders in order to get to the bottom of the tax owed.

Between April and October 2015, HMRC launched 27 taskforces across the UK, targeting the sectors at the highest risk of tax fraud, including income tax self-assessment repayments, retail, hidden wealth and grocery sectors: with one taskforce alone generating 22 arrests.

HMRC’s first tax taskforces were launched back in the spring of 2011 and since then around 100 taskforces have been sent out to work, yielding more than £404 million in unpaid tax combined.

Jennie Granger, director-general, Enforcement and Compliance, HMRC, believes the latest figures serve as a stark warning to those who repeatedly attempt to cheat the system.

“The message is clear if you try to cheat on your tax we are going to catch you – it’s only fair that we all pay what we should to fund public services.

“We have increasing amounts of intelligence, and are using state of the art digital tools to help us to identify and target high risk areas.

“This yield of £109m – almost double the figure for the same period in 2014 – shows that our strategy is working.”

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