HMRC targets London's markets for tax evasion
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HMRC have announced that six additional tax forces will turn up the heat on tax evaders, targeting London market traders. They are attempting to recover £25m in unpaid taxes and targeting people trading in specific areas including:

  • London markets, including Camden Market, Portobello Road and Brick Lane
  • Taxi firms in Yorkshire and Nottingham
  • Landlords in London, Cambridge, Leeds and Newcastle
  • Restaurants in Birmingham

HMRC has been gathering intelligence on tax evasion using "web crawler" technology and it is likely they will extend the geographical areas and trades they target in future campaigns.

Seek advice

If you have not registered with HMRC, or are concerned that you may have understated profits  in your tax return, you should seek professional advice and consider making a disclosure to HMRC as soon as possible to reduce the risk of prosecution and to mitigate the penalty which may be due.

I will pay my taxes

The penalties

HMRC found a plumber had evaded approximately £88,000 in income tax and VAT plus interest, avoiding around £112,000. Earlier this year he was given a four-month jail term, suspended for 12 months. He must also pay £1,800 costs and undertake 100 hours of community service.
He had recently paid £40,000 to HMRC and they will attempt to recover the remaining money through the civil courts.

Unfair to law-abiding citizens

HMRC stated that he set-up his business in 1997 and didn't register for self-assessment, and paid no income tax or VAT. This gave him an unfair and illegal advantage over his law-abiding business competitors and robbed the exchequer of vital revenue.

Mike Wells, HMRC's director of risk and intelligence services, said: "We want people targeted by any HMRC campaign to come forward and use the opportunity to put the record straight and pay any tax due on the best possible terms. It really is better for people who owe tax to come to HMRC, before we come and find you."