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HMRC launches VAT taskforces in Midlands

23rd Sep 2014
Freelance tax writer
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AIA

HMRC has launched five VAT taskforces in the Midlands as part of an initiative to bring in over £100m in the current tax year.

The new taskforces will tackle fraudulent VAT repayments in the Nottingham, Birmingham, Stoke, Coventry and Wolverhampton areas.

VAT repayment taskforces have recovered more than £22m across the UK since 2012, the department said.

Jennie Granger, director general of enforcement and compliance at HMRC, said: “HMRC taskforces are deployed in sectors and areas where we've detected a high risk of tax evasion. People being targeted by our taskforces have no intention of playing by the rules and could end up facing a heavy fine or even a criminal conviction.

“In a previous VAT taskforce a trader who claimed to be exporting vehicles and second-hand white goods to Africa was found to have fraudulently reclaimed over £500,000 of input tax. He was sentenced to four and a half years’ imprisonment and was disqualified from being a company director for six years.

“If you haven’t declared all of your income, we will find you and investigate.”

HMRC taskforces expect to bring in over £100m during 2014/15. Seventy taskforces have been launched since 2011 and a further 30 are planned.

Builder ‘pocketed VAT’

HMRC also announced that a Belfast builder who pocketed £73,000 of VAT that he had charged his customers but failed to pass on to HMRC has been sentenced to 18 months, suspended for two years. John McDowell, aged 56, from St. Judes Crescent, Belfast, pleaded guilty and was sentenced last week at Laganside Court.

Mike Parkinson, HMRC’s assistant director, criminal investigation, said: “McDowell knew he was breaking the law when he deliberately failed to pay his taxes. HMRC takes tax fraud extremely seriously and anyone deliberately choosing to evade the taxes they owe should expect not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well.”

HMRC invites people who know someone who is evading taxes to contact its tax evasion hotline on 0800 788 887.

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By johnjenkins
24th Sep 2014 09:18

I'm one

of the first to slag HMRC off because of their attention to small business and the incompetent way they go after the real villains.

This is what HMRC should be doing all the time. They should leave all the admin stuff to us and get out there and catch the real tax dodgers and evaders.

Issuing wrong codes that take time to sort out, trying to implement IR35, causing chaos with CIS etc. etc. is not what HMRC should be doing if they want to get some serious money in. No good relying on penalties to up the take.

HMRC have a real opportunity to tackle tax evasion. Give us "agent strategy" NOW and release people to tackle criminals.

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By mikefleming3028
24th Sep 2014 14:23

Why

five taskforces and why all five in the Midlands?  What is going on there that warrants such attention?  Jennie Granger, director general of enforcement and compliance at HMRC, said: “HMRC taskforces are deployed in sectors and areas where we've detected a high risk of tax evasion. There must be a back story to this and I for one would be interested in more detail. Any body out there with more information please feel free to chip in!

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By mikefleming3028
24th Sep 2014 14:43

Reward Informers

Has anyone at HMRC bothered to look at Section 32 of IRRA 1890 which states:-

"The Commissioners may at their discretion reward any person who informs them  of any offence against any Act relating to inland revenue or assists in the recovery of any fine  or penalty, provided that a reward exceeding £50 shall not be paid in any case without the consent of the treasury"

Given the push on detecting tax evasion and the recent changes on rewarding and protecting  whistle blowers I would have thought that an advertising campaign featuring this particular "opportunity" would be taken to heart in certain sections of the community. ie no new taskforces necessary and shed loads of information flooding in to HMRC from interested parties. Sounds like a win win deal to me... 

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By mikefleming3028
25th Sep 2014 09:25

HMRC press release today

“Alcohol smuggling costs the UK economy around £1 billion a year in lost revenue. HMRC is committed to tackling alcohol crime and this month’s action has had an outstanding impact in bringing law enforcement agencies across the UK and Europe together to disrupt one of the most serious organised criminal threats.

“We encourage anyone with information regarding alcohol smuggling and fraud to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

No mention of a possible reward for information supplied, are HMRC missing a trick? 

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By johnjenkins
25th Sep 2014 09:43

Sorry Mike

but alcohol smuggling costing us £1b a year (is there a fantasy figure site where these ridiculous amounts are available for download) is a joke. The big thing you tend to forget is, that if booze is expensive then people drink less. If it is cheap they drink more. What you are trying to relate doesn't work in practice, because the revenue wouldn't be there.

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By memyself-eye
25th Sep 2014 10:47

Anyone know

How big big these 'taskgroups' are?

I have visions of dozens of revenue men descending on sleepy villages In Warwickshire.

Even the phrase 'taskgroup' reminds me of the ad hoc 'battlegroups' that the Germans formed desperately trying to repel the Russian hordes in 1944

"Mein Fuhrer, the Russians are here"

"Dumkopf -Ve vill form a battlegroup to defeat them"

"Alas mein Fuhrer ve only hav 5 tanks left"

"Wonderbar - 5 battlegroups then!"  

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