HMRC have stepped up their efforts in targeting tax avoidance and evasion in recent months, fighting a range of aggressive schemes through court and also setting up taskforces to crackdown on smaller cases.
The taskforces have been used to target SME’s and particular trades across specific regions of the UK. The approach being taken is to encourage self employed workers to come forward and declare outstanding tax liabilities, however HMRC compliance teams are also carrying out visits and investigations into those who continue to avoid tax.
As part of the £900m boost to dealing with tax avoidance, announced in October 2010, the taskforces are expected to collect around £50m in unpaid taxes as well as fines; but they are also aiming to change the behaviour of those who have previously evaded tax, with the threat of larger fines and prosecutions.
Meanwhile, HMRC’s director of general business, Jim Harra, has confirmed that their campaign to clampdown on tax avoidance schemes has been boosted by three key wins in court. The three tax avoidance schemes were expected to cause more than £200m in lost tax, so Mr Harra rightly described them as “a victory for the vast majority of taxpayers who do not try to dodge their taxes.”
He continued; “They send a clear message to tax avoiders – HMRC will challenge tax avoidance relentlessly and we will beat you. These were complex cases which show HMRC’s experts doing what they do best, delivering great results for the UK.”
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke added that the Government are committed to tackling aggressive tax avoidance schemes and will pursue them through the court where necessary.
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