HM Revenue and Customs have published on their website details of the success of their taskforces.
Taskforces have recovered more than £500 million since they were launched five years ago.
The targeted bursts of enforcement activity have brought in progressively higher amounts every year, and the total now stands at more than £540 million. This includes nearly £250 million raised in 2015-16 alone, almost double the previous year’s yield.
Since 2011, HMRC has launched more than 140 taskforces targeting sectors that are at the highest risk of tax fraud including the retail sector, the tobacco industry and the adult entertainment industry.
One case of mine in Sheffield clearly indicated that HMRC had had access to adult websites and targeted such income under their “Hidden Economy Teams”
Other teams have carried out test purchasing of meals in North East coast restaurants returning later when the closed signs go up to review the takings and talk to staff! These have yielded enormous sums for HMRC and this is largely down to their use of Till interrogation software and Merchant Acquirer! Or MA as they call it. Here HMRC can obtain from Credit and Debit card companies details of income received through terminal by traders
Merchant acquirers are the companies that process card payment transactions. Businesses need to be registered to one of these merchant acquirers in order to receive credit or debit card payments. Under new powers, HMRC will now receive information from the merchant acquirers. This will provide HMRC with details of all the transactions by debit and credit card paid to a business, i.e. through their card payment terminal or online. HMRC will receive aggregated data for a month, e.g. the number of transactions, Cash Back transactions, at a total of £ XXX per month.