Tackling alcohol fraud
HMRC has launched an new initiative to tackle alcohol fraud as part of its overall remit to deal with tax fraud. It is estimated that alcohol duty fraud costs the exchequer £1.2 billion a year and in many cases is predicated by organised criminal gangs.
The first meeting of the Joint Alcohol Anti-fraud Taskforce (JAAT) took place on 16 January 2014. The JAAT is made up of senior officials from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Border Force, the Home Office, Trading Standards and key industry stakeholders including the British Beer and Pub Association, the Scotch Whisky Association, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, the UK Warehousing Association, the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, the Bonded Warehousekeepers Association, the Association of Convenience Stores, the British Retail Consortium and the Road Haulage Association.
The taskforce will work together to seek to prevent fraud and will build on HMRC’s existing strategy to tackle alcohol fraud. HMRC have also announced a new registration scheme for alcohol wholesalers and new due diligence conditions for HMRC-approved alcohol businesses, aimed at ensuring businesses only trade in legitimate supply chains.
The Economic Secretary to the Treasury Nicky Morgan said:
‘Alcohol fraud illegally diverts money that could otherwise be spent on public services and reducing the deficit. The fraud, which often involves organised criminal gangs, undermines honest businesses up and down the country.’