Taxman’s new fraud clampdown snares dirty dozen

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HMRC’s latest crackdown on tax fraud caught 12 individuals on its first day of operation, the Revenue has revealed.

The taxman’s new taskforce is designed to target individuals and organised gangs believed to have fraudulently claimed repayments. The team, one of over 90 in operation, is expected to bring in up to £6 million.

Among those arrested included four in Eastbourne and two from Luton. Two further people were taken into custody in Scotland.

HMRC says its taskforces undertake “intensive bursts of activity”, targeting specific high-risk trade sectors and locations throughout the UK. The teams visit individuals and traders to examine their records and carry out a series of compliance checks.

The new drive is just one of several initiatives introduced by the Revenue to tackle tax avoidance. HMRC has recently launched teams to target individuals with rapidly rising wealth, while also snooping on taxpayers’ social media accounts.

Jennie Granger, HMRC’s director general of enforcement and compliance, said: “Tax fraud is serious – it’s not a victimless crime. People who fraudulently claim a tax repayment are robbing the rest of us and denying money for vital public services. Not only could they face a fine, but criminal prosecution as well.”

She also revealed that HMRC’s taskforces have collected more than £290 million in lost tax revenue since they were launched in 2011.

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