Following on from an article we talked about last week, regarding HMRC clamping down on undeclared landlords, the special ‘task forces’ set up by HMRC will announce this week the seizure of more than £100m from their target industries.
The task forces, which were launched in 2011, are targeting industries rife with tax evasion or avoidance i.e. landlords, fast-food restaurants and private security firms. Although the scheme cost over £1billion to launch, it is believed that it will be able to recoup over £100million per annum. Of all of HMRC’s task forces, those specialising in the fast-food industry has seized the most, raking in over £25million so far this year.
With small businesses facing the brunt of the crackdown, Mr Roy-Chowdhury of the ACCA stated that he believed these task forces were ‘more of a shock troop tactic rather than a tax amnesty’.
The news comes after earlier figures released this October estimated that HMRC had seized more than £565million from small businesses caught out by compliance rules, a rise of 31% from 2012.
Many analysts believe that small businesses are an easy target for HMRC, especially after it has been in the press for not tightening its grip on larger corporations avoiding tax, such as Google and Starbucks. HMRC denies all of these claims though, stating it is just because of a recently improved IT system, which can easily target businesses and individuals falling foul of tax laws.
As the taxman seems to be having an ever tightening grip on businesses that are not paying or owe taxes, it seems unlikely that these will be relaxed at any point in the near future. SMEs and sole traders must be aware of the risks they face if their tax affairs are not in order, the pot HMRC has seized this year will likely spur them on to greater crackdowns in 2014. If your business owes tax or you need advice concerning other creditors that are chasing you or one of your clients, then contact us.