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HMRC taskforces against tax evasion? Money well spent?

HMRC taskforces against tax evasion? Money well...

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HMRC "taskforces" to tackle black spots of evasion in the UK economy have become ubiquitous since 2010, but some tax experts question their value. Have your clients been on the receiving end of the growing list of investigations into plumbers, restaurant owners, door-to-door sales people etc? I'm writing an article for Accounting WEB on this subject and would like to hear your views.

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By Manchester_man
10th Oct 2014 00:56

I find these days it's very rare for a client to get an enquiry notice.

Haven't had any this year or last year. A sign of HMRC being under strain in terms of resources?

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By ShirleyM
10th Oct 2014 07:31

None here either

We picked up a client who asked for help with an investigation, but it wasn't the result of a task force. His DIY self assessment was a load of rubbish and was obviously wrong.

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By MzEden
10th Oct 2014 09:32

My Husband used to be on one of those task forces. HMRC were making this department smaller and moving staff into other departments instead. That was 5 years ago, he left shortly after.

I'd suggest that they need more staff in these task forces and not less.

Although we all know that maybe money would be better spent pursuing the obvious 'big company' tax dodgers who avoid paying millions rather that the one man band plumber who may owe an extra £1000.

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By Exector
10th Oct 2014 10:09

Reduced enquiries

I've commented on the vast reduction in the number of HMRC SME enquiries (full and aspect or whatever they call them now) over recent years in other threads. I suspect it doesn't get much of an airing as who in the business wants to disturb what is generally a very comfortable and convenient status quo for us? To me the task forces smack of the wartime canvas tanks produced to deceive the Axis hordes. Mainly smoke and mirrors stuff, trying to produce a deterrent effect by a  lot of noise but little of substance, as it's cheap. Another analogy occurs- The Wizard of Oz, which mayhap is not far from the truth.

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By TaxTeddy
10th Oct 2014 11:04


Had one new client who has been approached by HMRC as he is a landlord. As it happens he hasn't declared this income so we will make a disclosure - but this is the only 'task force' work I have seen.

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Jennifer Adams
By Jennifer Adams
10th Oct 2014 17:44

So if reduced tax enquires is insurance necessary?

 HMRC have had success with their Property Tax Campaign in particular (lettings only - not property sales) - see amounts listed under the link below - updated yesterday 9 Oct, Interesting that this campaign is an 'on going' one.

I picked up a new client who had not declared lettings income for four years and came forward as she was frightened about what she had read in the papers about the Property Tax Campaign.

I have never ever had what could be termed a real 'enquiry/ investigation' in all the years I've been practicing and my father who was in the profession for 50 years had had only two. I've had letters asking for more detail but nothing otherwise.

This begs the thought - is enquiry insurance necessary for the smaller practice?


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By ShirleyM
10th Oct 2014 17:56


I had block cover insurance for a few years. It cost me many £thousands, and not one single claim. I had a couple of aspect enquiries in those years, and they were dealt with in an hour or so, therefore no claim as below the threshhold.

The people who would most benefit from insurance are excluded from claims so it's a waste of money getting cover for them, eg. late submissions.

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