7 Nov 2011 08:37 AM
HMRC tackles scrap metal tax dodgers

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 07 November 2011

A new taskforce targeting scrap metal dealers who are deliberately failing to pay the right amount of tax has been launched today by H M Revenue &amp; Customs.

The taskforce will pursue scrap metal dealers in Scotland and has been set up to tackle tax evasion where the risk is high. It is one of five taskforces announced today that have been set up to tackle tax evasion in different areas of the country.

The new taskforces will target:

* scrap metal dealers in Scotland, focusing on those who are deliberately suppressing their income or inflating expenditure to evade paying tax
* construction traders who are self employed or run their own company who suppress sales or over-claim expenses in the North West and North Wales
* taxpayers not submitting their statutory returns across Corporation Tax, Income tax Self Assessment, PAYE and VAT in the South East
* fast food outlets deliberately falsifying their records and mis-declaring their true sales levels to avoid paying the correct taxes in Scotland
* landlords – owning or renting three or more properties – evading their tax responsibilities in North West and North Wales.

Taskforces are specialist teams that undertake intensive bursts of compliance activity in specific high risk trade sectors and locations across the UK.

David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary, said:
“We will not tolerate those who break the rules. This taskforce will come down hard on scrap metal dealers and their customers or suppliers who have chosen to break the rules or deliberately evade the tax they should be paying. This is just the start.

“It doesn’t matter who you are - HMRC can and will track you down. You will face a heavy fine, a possible criminal prosecution and ultimately jail. Honest businesses have nothing to worry about.

“Taskforces are a direct result of the Government’s £917m spending review re-investment to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud, which aims to raise an additional £7bn each year by 2014/15.”

HMRC is planning 12 taskforces in 2011/12, the first of which was launched in May, and more to follow in 2012/13.

If you are aware of someone who is evading their taxes you can tell HMRC via the Tax Evasion Hotline by phone on 0800 788 887, email, or by post. Full details can be found at www.hmrc.gov.uk/tax-evasion/index.htm

Notes for editors 1. Taskforces bring together various HMRC compliance and enforcement teams for intensive bursts of activity targeted at specific sectors and locations where there is evidence of high risk of tax evasion. The first taskforces, launched on 12 May 2011, targeted the restaurant trade.

2. The taskforces are part of the Department’s broader work to tackle evasion and avoidance, including Managing Deliberate Defaulters, Campaigns and Offshore penalties.

3. Compliance activity through taskforces targets the highest-risk cases in specific sectors and location, typically focusing on groups of up to around 600 customers.

4. Taskforces aimed at the restaurant sector were launched in May/June in London, the North West of England and Scotland. A taskforce aimed at London fast food outlets was launched in July.

5. Follow HMRC on Twitter @HMRCgovuk

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HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

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