HMRC swoop on businesses in tax investigation

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has highlighted its tough approach by paying surprise visits to businesses in Essex.

HMRC officers targeted businesses in and around Southend-On-Sea on 15 May, including a car wash that was estimated to owe more than £250,000 in tax, including in income tax, national insurance and VAT.

Caroline Benbrook of HMRC’s Hidden Economy Team – which focuses on businesses and individuals that HMRC believes are trying to stay outside the tax system – said: “Business owners who were caught out during our activities in Essex will have to pay substantial penalties and interest on top of the money they owe to HMRC.

“We will continue to carry out regular unscheduled checks to flush out those who are not paying their fair share.”

HMRC’s tax investigations, business visitsand other action to reduce the tax gap – the amount between what it believes is due and the amount actually collected – is likely to intensify over the next five years, with the new Conservative government’s general election manifesto including a pledge to raise “at least £5 billion from continuing to tackle tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance and tax planning”.

With this in mind, any taxpayer concerned about their own tax affairs, and who believes they might become subject to a tax investigation, would be wise to seek expert advice. 

Our specialists at Taxation-Investigation, including ex-HMRC professionals, can provide specialist advice to clarify their situation and on the options available to them, so they can make informed decisions about the best way forward. We can also assist in mitigating outcomes or presenting a robust defence where tax affairs are in order.

For more information on our tax investigation services, please contact us.