HMRC has today announced a focus on the assets of strippers, escort agencies and lap dancing clubs, with the creation of a new ‘adult entertainment’ taskforce.
The taskforce will swing into action immediately, with an HMRC spokesperson confirming an initial target of raising £2.5m in unpaid tax from the adult industry.
For the first time HMRC will probe the tax affairs of traders and entertainers, some of whom allegedly earn thousands of pounds a day without registering for VAT, Income Tax and PAYE.
In 2010 the tax authority estimated that the adult entertainment industry was worth up to £5bn in the UK alone, citing the rise of the internet as a major factor behind this.
Commenting on the taskforce announcement Head of HMRC Taskforces Jim Stevenson said: “Large numbers of people working in this industry are paying the tax they owe and don’t have anything to worry about. The people targeted by this taskforce have no intention of playing by the rules, and we won’t tolerate this.”
More than 140 HMRC taskforces have been launched since 2011 and have collected more than £404m, including £109m brought in during the first six months of this financial year.
Areas previously examined by HMRC taskforces for not declaring sales income include Ann Summers parties, mobile phone apps, eBay traders and private tutors.