9am Lowdown: Tax fraud 2016, tourist tax & NMW

Lowdown
AccountingWEB
Richard Hattersley
Community correspondent
AccountingWEB
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Good morning and welcome to today’s Lowdown.

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Top ten tax fraud cases revealed

HMRC has released a list of its top ten most significant tax fraud and crime cases last year.

The Revenue’s criminal investigations have led to 679 individuals being convicted for their part in tax crimes, with sentences for 2016 totalling more than 730 years. The list includes a group of film producers, accountants and financial advisers jailed for a total of 36 years for a £2.2m tax fraud, an accountant and a construction firm boss jailed in a payroll fraud, and the Christopher Lunn tax evasion case.

Simon York, Director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said HMRC is coming down hard on “tax cheats”. “As these cases show, we’ll tackle anyone committing tax fraud, regardless of how well resourced, well advised, or well organised. These ten prosecutions are among the most significant cases we’ve handled this year, and they reflect the wide range of work carried out by HMRC,” he said.

Check out the full list here.

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Bath considers tourist tax

Bath is considering the introduction of a “tourist bed tax” on overnight visitors, making the South West city the first in the UK to impose such a tax.

According to the Telegraph, Charles Gerrish, a Conservative councillor, told BBC Radio Bristol that the local authority is looking at options for generating additional revenue.

 “If you go on holiday in Europe… when you stay in a hotel, you are asked to make a very small contribution to the local authority in addition to your hotel bill,” he said. “When I stay in Italy, for example, I pay something like one euro per head per night.

“It is something we believe, in an area that receives as many tourists as we do from all over the world, we ought to be allowed to consider.”

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'She only makes the teas and sweeps the floors'

“She doesn’t deserve the national minimum wage because she only makes the teas and sweeps the floors.” This is one of the excuses employers have told HMRC inspectors, the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy has revealed, as it launches a new £1.7m advertising campaign.

According to the Guardian, the new campaign will feature bus and billboard advertising starting next month and comes ahead of an increase in the national minimum wage for over-24s to £7.50 an hour on 1 April.

“There are no excuses for underpaying staff what they are legally entitled to,” said the business minister, Margot James. “This campaign will raise awareness among the lowest-paid in society about what they must legally receive and I would encourage anyone who thinks they may be paid less to contact Acas as soon as possible. Every call is followed up by HMRC and we are determined to make sure everybody in work receives a fair wage.”

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