HMRC launches drive to crack down tax evaders
Tax enforcers are targeting people with big houses, private jets and yachts to make sure they are declaring all of their income.
People living millionaire lifestyles and flaunting “badges of wealth” but only declaring a relatively small income will be hunted down by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
It has urged members of the public to report anyone they suspect of evading their taxes, insisting it can recover nearly £4.5 million by targeting tax dodgers.
Earlier this year, Garry Gibson, an Edinburgh building boss, was electronically tagged for eight months and ordered to repay money after an HMRC investigation found he had defrauded £220,000.
Specialist officers from across HMRC will identify wealth indicators – like large property, aeroplanes, boats, investments and offshore bank accounts – and cross-reference them with data HMRC holds about their owners.
Michael Connolly, HMRC taskforce lead in Scotland, said: “HMRC’s intelligence shows that people being targeted by this taskforce have no intention of playing by the rules.
“They are deliberately failing to declare all their income to HMRC in a crude attempt to line their own pockets and they will be investigated.
“As a result of this behaviour, they could end up facing a heavy fine or even a criminal conviction. Those who pay the tax they are supposed to have nothing to worry about.
“Using information we hold, we can target people whose lifestyle does not reflect the tax they are paying.
“It’s not fair that a small minority are living millionaire lifestyles as a result of not paying the tax they owe.