Revenue takes more off small firm tax avoiders

The incentive the taxman had back in October 2015 to attack contractors on “multiple fronts” remains intact today, almost two years later.

Speaking having obtained tax avoidance investigation data, an accountant reportedly said the ‘tax gap’ was still the reason why more small companies were getting probed by HMRC.

In fact, the Revenue earned an additional £474million in corporation tax from avoidance probes into tiny traders in 2016-2017, UHY Hacker Young told a Sunday newspaper.

That represents a five per cent jump on the previous year, when a round £470m extra was netted. But whether HMRC’s increased targeting of small firms is above board is in doubt. 

Roy Maugham, a UHY Hacker Young partner told the Mail on Sunday: “Small business are increasingly subject to scrutiny by the taxman -- often unfairly.”

He has described SMEs a ‘soft target’ for HMRC, which he predicted (at the release of the last set of compliance yield data) may lead its officers to try to ‘squeeze them for every pound.'

The five per cent increase in its extra haul means additional pounds have indeed reached the Revenue, despite some of it likely to have come from what Maugham termed “honest error.”

Sep 05, 2017