Taskforces to tackle VAT fraud
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.
Two new specialist taskforce teams have recently begun to target businesses in the North East and Lincolnshire who fraudulently reclaim VAT. The taskforces are part of HMRC’s wider remit to tackle evasion and avoidance.
Businesses that are fully compliant should have nothing to worry about but any business that has deliberately evaded tax should be seriously concerned as to the implications of a visit from the taskforce. HMRC has the legal power to conduct unannounced visits to business premises and inspect business records.
HMRC’s Jennie Granger, Director General of Enforcement and Compliance, said:
‘Deliberately falsifying VAT records is serious. It is really important that we level the playing field by stopping tax cheats. Our message is – do the right thing. If you haven’t already, come clean now. If you don’t, we will find you, investigate you and, not only could you face a heavy fine, but you may face a criminal prosecution as well.’