Eagle-eyed accountants at TaxAssist have spotted a novel new approach to tracking potential tax evaders, reports Dan Martin on our sister site BusinessZone.co.uk.
Yesterday afternoon (17 July), @TaxAssistUK tweeted a reponse from HMRC’s official Twitter feed @HMRCgovuk to an earlier post with a link inviting followers to find out more about “an interesting way to cheat on income tax”.
As Martin explained, “When HMRC first joined the social network, it was very much about broadcasting with no interaction with its followers. Over recent weeks that has changed and the government department is now getting involved in the conversation.”
The adaptation of Twitter to intelligence gathering is an interesting new application, but is a logical move given the role technology is already playing in the tax department’s strategy to close the tax gap.
Web crawlers are being used to track down etraders who may not be paying tax and taxpayers are now segmented into different customer groups that are analysed for their risk profiles.
IDEA software from Caseware is used to pinpoint specific variances within returns that may indicate a risk of tax loss. These risk-driven analyses do not just affect the cases chosen for further investigation, they are the backbone to the 20 or so tax taskforces that have been launched since the spring of 2011.
According to the NAO, some £387m was invested in HMRC’s compliance and enforcement programme that yielded £4.3bn during 2011-15. With an additional £917m committed to extending the drive, HMRC is forecasting an additional yield of £8.87bn for 2011-15.
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