Taxpayers warned of investigation risk

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has launched a new initiative to encourage more people to put their tax affairs in order, warning that they could face further investigation of their tax arrangements unless they do so.

HMRC announced on 9 July that anyone who has failed to submit a tax return for any year up to 2011-2012 now has until 15 October 2013 to do so and pay any tax and national insurance they owe.

After 15 October, if they have not submitted their returns and paid the tax due, penalties of up to 100 per cent of the tax, or even criminal investigation, could follow.

As part of the campaign, HMRC will be writing to several thousand people it has identified using its Connect system and making follow-up calls to many of them.

Connect contains more than a billion tax records and information from third parties and the internet and is able to spot connections in data including income, interest on bank accounts, taxes paid and unpaid, business ownership, and information from tax authorities in other countries, with the aim of identifying tax anomalies.

Marian Wilson, HMRC’s head of campaigns, said: “This is definitely the best time to catch up, on the best possible terms. While some penalties will apply, it is likely to cost people more if we have to find them rather than them coming to us.”

The campaign follows last year’s Tax Return Initiative campaign, which covered higher rate taxpayers who had failed to submit 2008-09 or 2009-10 returns. Under that campaign, more than £30 million was paid when over 3,000 people came forward voluntarily, filing more than 5,500 tax returns.

With HMRC becoming increasingly sophisticated in the way it operates, more people are likely to become the subject of a tax investigation.

In the event of a tax investigation, working with the experts at Taxation-Investigation can help to clarify the taxpayer’s position and identify their options. Where there are issues to be resolved, we can assist in mitigating the outcome and where tax affairs are in order, we will argue the case robustly.