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HMRC setting up new anti-tax evasion teams, targeting small firms

HM Revenue & Customs has announced it has begun to set up new anti-tax evasion teams, targeting small businesses such as buy-to-let landlords, restaurateurs, and taxi drivers in an effort to crack down on the practice, it was recently reported.

Finding ways to curb tax avoidance is always on the government’s mind, as this new crackdown is similar to ones recently carried out against the electricity and plumbing trades.  Contractors, freelancers, and other self-employed are now directly in HMRC’s sights, alongside those that let property or run restaurants.  Tax inspectors have plans to visit both private addresses and businesses in order to carry out surprise tax account inspections.

Exchequer Secretary, David Gauke, remarked that these tax avoidance teams have been highly successful, as £650 million has already been pulled in from fines and extra taxes for the 2011-2012 financial year.  Tax evasion is not to be tolerated, Mr Gauke added, commenting that everyone has a responsibility to pay all taxes owed in full, and that HMRC has the determination on those few who choose to flaunt tax rules; at a time when the economy is already standing on shaky footing, it’s unfair to those who pay their fair share while others are trying to pull the wool over the taxman’s eyes, the Exchequer Secretary also said.

There were a total of 12 taskforces launched in 2011 by HMRC.  An additional 30 are scheduled to launch in 2012, though there is still much to be done before the recovery of the estimated £7 billion in unpaid taxes by the government’s target date of 2016, experts say.

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