Revenue to toughen up on VAT dodgers

Individuals and businesses that trade above the VAT threshold but who aren’t registered for Value Added Tax will be targeted in the summer, HM Revenue & Customs announced.

Outlining the initiative, HMRC said it would focus on firms and individuals with turnover of £71,000 or more in order to cut the “tax gap” and to get people to pay what they owe.

Advisors and other interested parties are already being canvassed for their views on the campaign which, HMRC warned, will crack down on the “significant underpayment” of VAT.

Taxpayers potentially affected who come forward now, or any time before the summer launch, to settle their VAT obligations will be better off, tax officials said. 

“It will always be less expensive if customers come to HMRC voluntarily rather than wait until we catch up with them,” they added, in a message already familiar to EBT users and offshore investors.

Alongside a similar targeting of professionals in the medical industry, such initiatives by the tax authority have raised more than £500m, in addition to £100m from follow-up activity.

Reflecting on the yield from ‘voluntary disclosures,’ HMRC explained: “The department provides simple, straightforward opportunities for customers to put their records in order on the best possible terms, followed immediately by activity focused on the non-compliant who choose not to take up the opportunity.”

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