Tax investigations discussion group launched

To kick off a far-ranging study of HMRC’s targeted tax collection campaigns, AccountingWEB has opened a new discussion group to look at all aspects of the investigation process.

Since 2010, the government has encouraged HMRC to focus on and compliance and enforcement, investing £900m at the time of its initial spending review into activities designed to reap £7bn in increased tax revenue by 2015. This means more investigations, and plenty of them, with many taking place under the umbrella of 20-30 planned task forces targeting specific industries and sectors.

With help from reporter Nick Huber, we will be delving into all of the affected sectors to see how well these campaigns are working, and how they are affecting UK businesses.

The exercise grew out of AccountingWEB’s Taskforce tracker, when it became apparent that data on the 20 campaigns undertaken so far was in very short supply. The investigations discussion group will help us draw together information and advice from community members, along with HMRC/NAO stats to piece together a much more detailed assessment of how many checks have been carried out, what proportion have led to disclosures, and some solid figures to assess the amounts of tax raised.

But there is so much more to explore. For example, what effect is the new enforcement and compliance philosophy at HMRC having on ordinary businesses and their advisers?

Are the campaigns adding to the burdens on UK business impacts – and is there a point at which the push for compliance becomes a heavy-handed cash extraction exercise from small businesses when large companies are being offered favourable settlements?

And finally, are these new investigations applying HMRC’s new powers to levy extra amounts due to lack of reasonable care, or changing the investigators’ negotiating strategies.

Join the tax investigations group to help us find answers to these questions to help businesses and their advisers know how to cope if they are caught up in this big surge.