A MAJOR new campaign has been launched to catch tax dodgers working in the motor trade, operating market stalls, e-traders, those selling clothing and individuals working in building related trades according to a warning from Yorkshire accountancy firm Clough & Company.
The HMRC clampdown is part of a wider challenge to raise an additional £7bn each year by 2014-15 by reducing tax evasion, avoidance and fraud and follows Chancellor George Osborne earmarking £900m to tackle the problem.
Nigel Westman, Partner of Clough & Company, explains: “HMRC is now making major in-roads into catching tax cheats and this latest campaign highlights specific sectors where the organisation believes there is strong evidence of tax evasion which is likely to put thousands of businesses and individuals under the spotlight.
“HMRC is also using new technology to trace both individuals and businesses and obtain information about their income. In addition, they will cross-reference previous tax returns with other information they hold to identify irregularities which means they’re better equipped than ever to identify those avoiding paying the correct tax.”
Nigel adds: “Punishments could include financial penalties, criminal prosecution, seizure of personal assets or even prison. Criminal prosecutions can be expensive and time-consuming for those involved and investigators will often contact employees, suppliers and customers which can be extremely damaging to a business's reputation.
“In these austere times, the drive on tax compliance will certainly continue and as technology improves those cheating the system will find it increasingly difficult to remain in the shadows. However, those coming forward voluntarily can generally expect a more lenient response from HMRC so this is an advisable option for anyone that wants to put their tax affairs in order.”
For further information visit www.hmrc.gov.uk or for details about Clough & Company and its services visit www.clough.co.uk