HM Revenue and Customs
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HMRC extends its tax cheats campaigns

HMRC extends its tax cheats campaigns

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 08 February 2012

A new campaign will be launched by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) during the next year aimed at people who fail to make tax returns and who are liable to pay tax at the highest tax rates.

In two further campaigns, to be launched later in the year, the department will target tradespeople working in the home improvement market, and people who receive income from buying and selling goods direct to others, or are paid commission.
HMRC will use new technology to search the internet for information about specified, targeted people and businesses.

The new campaigns will focus on:

Missing returns. This will contribute to wider HMRC activity tackling failure to complete tax returns. It will initially focus on those who fail to complete tax returns and who are liable to pay tax at the highest rates.Home improvement trades. This will build on campaigns aimed at plumbers and electricians, and will include several 100,000 tradespeople in construction and building work such as roofing, window fitting, bricklaying, carpentry and joinery.Direct selling. This will target customers who ought to be paying tax on income they earn from buying and selling goods direct to others, or from the commission on these sales.

As with previous campaigns, the focus of the new campaigns will be on providing those in the selected groups, who may not be paying the tax they owe, a chance to put their affairs in order on the best possible terms.

Marian Wilson, of HMRC’s Risk and Intelligence, said:

“Most people pay their taxes in full and on time, so it is right that HMRC works hard to secure payment from those who have not come forward.

“Using new technology, we have been able to analyse returns to HMRC covering a range of taxes and to cross-reference these with other information to build a picture of where we believe we have taxpayers with missing returns.

“We will use the same technology to analyse information gathered to support the following two campaigns and for each campaign, after the opportunity has closed, we will use the information we have to pursue those who choose not to use the chances we provide to put their affairs in order.

“We are offering all the people targeted the opportunity to come forward. Penalties will be higher if we come and find people after the opportunity. A criminal investigation may also result. I therefore urge them to disclose unpaid tax voluntarily.”

Two campaigns that will be launched before the end of 2011/12 will focus on:

E-marketplaces. This will cover those who are using e-marketplaces to buy and sell goods as a trade or business and who fail to pay the tax owed. People who only sell a few items and who are not traders are unlikely to be liable to tax and will not be targeted by this campaign.Electricians. This will build on HMRC’s plumbers’ campaign and give an opportunity to another group of tradespeople to come forward and declare unpaid tax.

More than £500m has been raised by HMRC from voluntary disclosures and a further £105m from follow-up activity. Previous campaigns have targeted offshore investments, medical professionals, plumbers, VAT defaulters and private tutors.

Information on campaigns for 2012, including how people can work with HMRC to influence their development, can be found at

Notes for editors

1. Private tutors who have registered for the Tax Catch Up Plan have until 31 March to tell HMRC what they owe and make arrangements to pay. Further details:
2. People who believe they need to make a disclosure and want to come forward now and voluntarily disclose can call 0845 601 5041.
3. Under the plumbers campaign nearly 600 people came forward to “notify” HMRC of their intention to declare unpaid tax, offering over £4m in unpaid tax. So far, nearly £4m has been paid and 10 plumbers have been arrested, with more arrests planned. In addition, more than 1,000 civil cases have been prepared.
4. All HMRC Campaigns provide opportunities for people to voluntarily put their tax affairs in order. They do this by identifying a group to target and gathering information and intelligence that can be used to encourage and influence that group to come forward. Once a campaign closes, HMRC then uses that same information and intelligence to follow up with action that can include criminal investigations, aimed at those who choose not to pay up.
5. For more information about campaigns
6. Follow HMRC on Twitter @HMRCgovuk

NAT14/12 Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office Press enquiries only please contact:


HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

Patrick O'Brien
Phone: 020 7147 2318

Andrew Bennett
Phone: 020 7147 0051

HMRC Out of Hours
Phone: 07860 359544

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