Tax evasion briefing published
HMRC have published a new briefing document highlighting the steps they are taking to tackle the small minority of taxpayers who deliberately evade taxes. HMRC estimate that tax evasion and the hidden economy contribute over £10 billion a year to the tax gap. HMRC’s campaign to improve tax compliance has seen over 2,300 individuals being prosecuted over the last three years and HMRC expects to bring over 1,100 tax fraud prosecutions in 2014-15.
As part of the Government’s £1bn investment to increase tax compliance, HMRC are using a range of activities to detect and deter rule-breakers.
The briefing document highlights the following actions HMRC have taken:
- setting up over 60 regional taskforces since 2011 aimed at high-risk sectors;
- using campaigns to target specific trades and professions to settle their taxes voluntarily followed by swift action targeting those who do not;
- a publicity campaign to target tax evaders;
- offshore agreements with foreign tax authorities to target affluent individuals who hide their money offshore;
- publicly naming deliberate defaulters;
- placing known tax evaders under five-year scrutiny by HMRC’s Monitoring Serious Defaulters team;
- issuing financial penalties for deliberate non-compliance;
- growing specialist teams to tackle tax evasion by wealthy taxpayers; and
- analysing details of credit and debit card payments information from the UK’s merchant acquirers.
The latest phase of HMRC’s three-year advertising campaign started in January 2014 using locations such as billboards, posters on telephone kiosks and radio adverts to reinforce the message that they are closing in on undeclared income.