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HMRC are looking for more ways to bring out "ghost" tax evasion by the use of Hidden Economy Teams to track down individuals who have not registered for tax.
The Hidden Economy Teams were formally set up in 2003 to find information about low level tax evasion and people who were not in the tax system. The principle behind the Hidden Economy Teams is that they scour publicly available information to try to find people who are committing low level tax evasion. This can be from a variety of sources such as newspapers, the internet and other such media.
The Hidden Economy teams will obtain this data and then search the HMRC database to see if they can find a tax record for the individual or business. If they are unable to do so they will automatically assume that the individual is probably guilty of tax evasion.
The usual method of contact to what the Hidden Economy teams consider to be tax evading individuals is by letter. The first that the individual will know about this is when they receive a letter suggesting that HMRC have information which suggests that the individual may not have declared all of their income and asking them to make contact with the Hidden Economy Team.
Since the formation of the Hidden Economy Teams in 2003 they have undertaken over 30,000 Inland Revenue Investigations per year and according to statistics available on government websites have generated additional tax etc as a result of tax evasion of over £145 million pounds.
As a result of the merger between HM Customs & Excise and the Inland Revenue the Hidden Economy team have also been targeting businesses where they believe that VAT is due but not paid. Their remit is also soon to be rumoured to cover tax credits.
The success in respect of the Hidden Economy Teams (as viewed by the HMRC) is that they are a relatively cheap way of raising a tax investigation into relatively low level omissions or businesses failing to notify HMRC of their liability to tax.
Recently the Hidden Economy Teams have been active in visiting the business premises of individuals or their homes to ask questions relating to their tax affairs in order to start an Income Tax Investigation.
"We understand that people sometimes make mistakes in their dealings with HMRC and that HMRC make mistakes in dealing with taxpayers. Many people do not know how to deal with HMRC or who to turn to for help resolve the tax dispute.
Our firm of tax advisors specialise in resolving people's problems with HMRC. We have extensive expertise in dealing with all forms of tax investigations and tax disputes as well as with taking matters to the Tax Tribunal where agreement cannot be reached.
We deal both directly with the individual who is under enquiry and also work with many firms of accountants supporting them in dealing with HMRC disputes and advising them on how to handle HRMC to get the best result.
The fact is that proper management of HMRC is the best way of reducing the tax, interest and penalty as well as the time taken in resolving any tax dispute.
Our expert team are none judgemental and rigorously defend your position within the scope and parameter of the law. We take control and manage the process to minimise the interruptions that any form of tax investigation causes to an individual's life and business."