The HMRC Crackdown Continues into the New Year

HM Revenue & Customs

With the current tax year coming to an end in April 2015, HMRC has been hitting the headlines again in their quest to stamp out tax avoidance. The crackdown has been an ongoing mission for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) since 2011, and from then they have been targeting various sectors to ensure businesses and sole traders across all industries are bringing their tax affairs up to date.

Whilst the self-assessment deadline has been and gone, work is still underway to ensure HMRC meets their target and add to the £1 billion raised so far.

Why is the crackdown taking place?

HMRC are utilising a series of resources to identify businesses and sole traders that are not declaring income accurately. Tax avoidance has been an issue for a number of years and the crackdown aims to minimise evasion. In addition to targeting the wider UK market, they are also targeting specific industries that have a high level of avoidance sector-wide.

As well as targeting industries, HMRC is responding to evidence gathered from legal aid data and other third parties to form the basis of their investigations.

What to expect this year?

The end of 2014 brought another revelation, whilst HMRC had been targeting avoidance across multiple industries, this time professionals throughout the legal sector were being targeted. In previous years, doctors, dentists and even taxi drivers were the subjects of HMRC’s attention, and recent reports revealed that now solicitors, lawyers and other professionals who are either self-employed, working in a partnership or employed by law firms of all sizes are the latest targets.

What can I do to bring my affairs up to date?

If you find that you are the subject of a HMRC investigation, whether you are a part of the legal sector or another industry, then seeking advice from an accountant is important. Those that come forward voluntarily are likely to receive lower penalties, however those that don’t, will have to pay penalties as well as settle any tax due. In some scenarios, businesses and sole traders may face criminal prosecution.

As one of the North East’s leading accountancy practices, our accountants can help you get your tax affairs in order. We deliver a range of accounting services to ensure all aspects of your business or sole trader accounts remain legally compliant.

To find out more about the HMRC crackdowns and how we can help, please contact 0191 251 7599.