East Anglia: HMRC launches crackdown on tax fraud and evasion in the holiday sector

David Gauke MP

David Gauke MP - Credit: Archant

HM Revenue & Customs is launching a crackdown on the holiday industry in East Anglia, with a target to recover £2.5million-worth of taxation.

HMRC is using one of its taskforces – teams of specialists who carry out intensive inquiries in “high risk” sectors, usually within a defined geographic area – to visit traders to examine their records and carry out other investigations.

The taskforces are part of a £917million investment by the Government to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud which aims to raise an additional £7billion each year by 2014-15.

Last year, HMRC brought in a total of £20.667bn in additional revenues from tackling avoidance, evasion and criminal attack

David Gauke MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said: “This taskforce is targeting people who are not playing by the rules.

“Most people pay what they should. The Government has made it clear that we will not tolerate tax evasion and HMRC will crack down on those who seek to break the rules.

“HMRC has brought in more than £70m since the initial taskforces were launched in 2011-12. They expect to bring in over £90m from taskforces this year.”

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Jennie Granger, director general for enforcement and compliance at HMRC, added: “Most people and businesses voluntarily comply, so it is important we deal firmly with those who don’t.

“Using our award-winning tool, Connect, which brings together over 30 different sources of information, we are able to target specific industry sectors and geographical areas that present the highest risk of tax fraud.

“The message is clear – if you choose to defraud the tax system or seek to evade tax, we can and will track you down. You will face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well.”

HMRC launched 12 task forces during 2011-12 and 30 in 2012-13, the first full year of the initiative.

Sectors already targeted within East Anglia have included property transactions, under a taskforce announced last June, and the fast food trade, which was the subject of a taskforce announced in February this year.

HMRC has also set up a “Tax Evasion Hotline” for members of the public to report suspected cases of tax evasion. The number to call is 0800 788 887.