Tackling the hidden economy
August has been a busy month for the publication of many consultations that had been delayed by the Brexit referendum and the emergence of Theresa May as Prime Minister. Included in the raft of consultations were three consultation documents aimed at tackling the hidden economy. We may have a new Prime Minister and Chancellor but proposals to tackle the black economy remain high on the agenda.
The consultation documents are as follows:
- Tackling the hidden economy: extension of data-gathering powers to money service businesses — This consultation is about a proposal to extend HMRC’s bulk data-gathering powers to include customer data held by money service businesses (MSBs). This data will help HMRC to identify non-compliant customers trading in the hidden economy;
- Tackling the hidden economy: conditionality — This consultation is about conditionality, which is the proposal that access to some business services or licences should be dependent on businesses being registered for tax. Conditionality could help to make it easier to register for tax, and more difficult for non-compliant businesses to evade their responsibilities; and
- Tackling the hidden economy: sanctions — This consultation explores the potential for new penalties and sanctions to tackle those operating in the hidden economy, including those who have already been targeted for non-compliance, but have not changed their behaviour.
The closing date for responses to all three consultations is 21 October 2016.