Taskforces are specialist HMRC teams that carry out intensive bursts of activity in specific high-risk trade sectors and locations in the UK. The teams will visit traders to examine their records and carry out other investigations.
HMRC collected more than £90 million as a result of Taskforces launched in 2011 and 2012. HMRC expects to raise the same amount each year from Taskforces launched in 2013 to 2015.
Enquiries are likely to follow information HMRC obtain, including unannounced visits, so should be handled carefully.
Since 2007, HMRC campaigns have collected over £552 million in tax from people making voluntary disclosures and over £224 million from follow-up activities. There are several criminal investigations underway and seven people have been convicted, with custodial sentences handed out of up to two years. Those convicted have between them had to pay over £550,000.
The Campaigns have included Tax Return Initiative, Tax Health Plan, Plumbers Tax Safe Plan, Electricians Tax Safe Plan, E-Marketplaces, Property Sales Campaign, Offshore Disclosure Facility and New Disclosure Opportunity.
The campaigns open are:
- Let Property Campaign – this targets the residential property letting market and offers the sector’s landords a chance to get up-to-date or correct errors to stay compliant.
To help nudge this campaign HMRC have sent out letters to taxpayers setting out that they obtain information regarding UK persons holding overseas property from a variety of sources including foreign governments, third party letting agents, overseas bank account information, etc. HMRC also stated when the Let Property Campaign was launched that they would be stepping up compliance activity in this area; this seems to be the first tranche of this. There is a tick box list of possible responses that the taxpayer is asked to return to HMRC - failure to do so could lead to an investigation (including criminal if serious).
This campaign will be focussed on all aspects of current and previous properties owned either personally or via an overseas entity. This will include source of funds to acquire the property, gains on any disposals and income from lettings (including undisclosed bank accounts where any rents or proceeds are being held).
- Health & Wellbeing Campaign – this focuses on health professionals. HMRC has already identified more than 20 healthcare professions that are likely to be included. The campaign launched on 7 October 2013.