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HMRC takes anti-evasion fight to Twitter

18th Jul 2012
Editor in Chief (interim) AccountingWEB
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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”.

@HMRCgovuk on the trail of Twitter tax evader

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.

Replies (10)

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By justsotax
18th Jul 2012 13:28

if you are stupid enough to say it on

twitter then you really do get what you deserve....


Novel...perhaps not, afterall they generally look where businesses will be advertising ...papers, newsagent windows, facebook....twitter....not rocket science......and shouldn't really come as a shock to most of us.

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Man of Kent
By Kent accountant
18th Jul 2012 15:05


Wonder when his business will be getting a records inspection...

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Man of Kent
By Kent accountant
18th Jul 2012 15:18

The detail is here

click on the link


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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
18th Jul 2012 15:20

Excellent to see HMRC getting invovled in social media.

A big part of compliance is fear of getting caught. By showing HMRC taking an interest goes a long way to getting reluctant tax payers to stay the right side of the law.


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By James Hellyer
19th Jul 2012 00:15

Mercury used to run that spread betting scheme. I didn't like it then and I don't like now.

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Replying to louisVW4:
By petestar1969
27th Jul 2012 13:14


James Hellyer wrote:

Mercury used to run that spread betting scheme. I didn't like it then and I don't like now.


The scheme is still being run by ex-Mercury people under their new banner.

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David Ross
By davidross
19th Jul 2012 11:38

If something seems too good to be true ...

... it probably is !


This said, the Jimmy Carr scheme seems to 'work' so what do I know?

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By makingiteasynow
22nd Jul 2012 11:45

Different appetites

Many clients and natural risk assessors and risk takers. That is how they are successful in business.

If they have an appetite for this type of risk - they will take it.

As long as they are properly advised of the upside and downside, they can make their own risk assessment.

and Jimmy Carr seemed to get a lot of sympathy with a week...

Fortune favours the brave!

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By kenatnam
30th Jul 2012 12:10

Twitter is now the modern version of "overheard in the pub".

It's well named 'cos twits will get caught, as will facebook braggers.....

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By spartan20
19th Feb 2015 12:49

Great post! Twitter now can takes anti-evasion. Thanks for sharing this.


where to by vimeo views

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