Taskforces to tackle restaurants and construction
HMRC taskforces are comprised of multiple teams from across HMRC including special investigations, local compliance and criminal investigation units for targeting specific sectors and locations where there is a high risk of tax evasion. The taskforces use local knowledge and risk profiling to help create a list of businesses to target. The taskforces also use special software to uncover business areas where tax evasion is common place as well as to target specific businesses.
New specialist taskforce teams have recently begun to target the restaurant trade in London and East Anglia as well as the construction industry in the Midlands. The targeting of these businesses is not an amnesty and unlike some previous initiatives which sought to tempt taxpayers to come forward under favourable terms there is no formal disclosure facility on offer. HMRC inspectors will therefore have the full range of civil and criminal sanctions at their disposal. This includes the likelihood of businesses having to repay any unpaid tax, interest and penalties. The worst offenders are likely to face criminal investigation and prison.
Businesses that are fully compliant should have nothing to worry about but any business that has deliberately evaded tax should be seriously concerned. HMRC has the legal power to conduct unannounced visits to business premises and inspect business records.