The Government has recently announced that it plans to invest more money to crack down on tax evasion in the UK. HM Revenue and Customs is to take a more aggressive stance in tracking down non-payers and the Daily Mail has already uncovered evidence that strong arm tactics are being used to force Brits to pay the tax that they owe.
Government to crack down on tax evasion
The Government has announced a £900 million project to increase tax revenue and has given HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) more powers to reclaim unpaid tax. Around one hundred additional officers will be utilised as HMRC attempts to recoup an extra £500 million in taxes over the next four years.
David Gauke, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: “This government has invested £900 million in HMRC to crack down on people who break the rules.
“Expanding these teams will help make sure that we bring in the additional money that the UK needs. They aim to stop tax losses and increase tax yields by more than half a billion pounds over the next four years.”
Strong arm tactics already being used
The Daily Mail has found that strongly worded letters are already being sent to people who HMRC believe owe income tax. The letters warn that possessions will be seized from their homes and sold at auction for a fraction of their true value.
The letters state: ‘We will now need to take action to collect your tax. We are arranging a visit to your house. We will view your possessions and list those that we will sell at auction.
‘Once listed, your belongings will become the property of HM Revenue & Customs. We strongly advise you to avoid this as it will cost you much more to pay this way and can be embarrassing.’
MPs have condemned the letters, which warn that an £800 laptop could be sold for £100 and a £2,000 flat screen TV for £200.
Mark Warburton, director of accountancy firm Grant Thornton, said: “HMRC powers were tightened by the last Government in 2009. The system is supposed to ratchet up by stages so it is only repeat offenders who feel the full force, including seizure of goods.
“But I would not expect the tactics to apply where taxpayers have been in contact with their tax office, either to dispute the tax due or where they are in financial difficulties and have asked for more time to pay.”
So, if you have unpaid tax, or you are disputing the amount of tax that you have to pay, it is vital that you speak to your Tax Office. If not, you could run the risk of HMRC exercising its new powers and recouping the money that you owe using these methods.