HMRC targets ‘wealthy tax cheats’ in its latest investigations

HMRC is getting tough on those suspected of tax fraud, with the expansion of regional specialised tax investigation taskforces and new methods of gathering intelligence against those suspected of not playing by the rules.

HMRC’s ‘enforcement and compliance’ taskforces are teams of highly skilled tax experts, who carry out intensive bursts of activity to tackle potential tax evasion.

Taskforce activities focus on specific sectors and locations, and are supported by intelligence that identifies those areas at highest risk of tax evasion and tax fraud.

Sectors which have recently fallen under HMRC’s investigation spotlight include:

  • Alcohol and tobacco in Central England
  • Motor trade in Nottinghamshire and South Wales
  • VAT repayments in East of England
  • Landlords in the North West of England
  • Undeclared property sales in the South East.

In a further recent development, HMRC has announced that its investigators are using Land Registry and Merchant Acquirer data to identify those with ‘badges of wealth’ such as large houses, private aircraft, boats and undeclared offshore bank accounts which are not in keeping with the information they report to HMRC

HMRC’s Ian McCafferty, Taskforce Lead, said: Our intelligence shows that people being targeted by this taskforce 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.

HMRC’s new taskforce will be targeting similar wealthy individuals who have evaded their taxes.

Dr Anjulika Salhan, a director and tax investigation specialist with Salhan Accountants commented: “HMRC has wide reaching criminal investigation powers where tax fraud is suspected and this latest announcement shows that they will use every line of investigation open to them to tackle those suspected of tax fraud.

“At Salhan Accountants, we work extremely hard for clients subjected to a taxation investigation. We not only clarify the issues and the process, but come up with solutions too. Our experience, professional reputation, forensic attention to detail and negotiating skills mean we are well-placed to achieve positive outcomes.

“Whether an individual or company, talking to us is your best step towards addressing a taxation investigation and moving on with your life.”

 For more information about our taxation investigation services, please contact us.