THE LATEST HM Revenue & Customs tax taskforce initiative will target lawyers across London, as part of a wider effort to recover almost £20m for the public purse.
The taskforces, which operate in “short, sharp bursts of activity” in targeted areas of the country and perceived high-risk industries, will also be pursuing potential tax dodgers in groceries and retail in north and south Wales, hair and beauty in the north-east, restaurants in the south-east and Solent, and the motor industry in Scotland.
The budget for the taskforces is part of the £917m earmarked by the government to tackle tax avoidance and evasion, although it is not known what proportion of that budget the taskforces take up.
It is hoped news of the spot-checks will encourage traders in the target industries and areas to come forward voluntarily to settle any outstanding liabilities they might have.
Compliance checks will be carried out, as well as announced and unannounced visits, while invasive investigations and potential criminal proceedings await those who continue to dodge their bills.
HMRC director-general of enforcement and compliance Mike Eland said: “These taskforces bring together specialists from across HMRC to find people who are not paying what they should. If you have paid all your taxes, you have nothing to worry about. But for those deliberately evading tax, be warned that HMRC is coming after you.
“This is not an empty threat – HMRC can and will track you down if you choose to break the rules. We are on target to collect more than £50 million as a result of taskforces launched in 2011/12.”