Yorkshire business owners are being warned to be prepared for increased scrutiny from specialist tax taskforces as HMRC seeks to step up its investigations into the financial affairs of small businesses.
Julia Forrester who owns TaxAssist Accountants in Ilkley said: “HMRC’s specialist tax taskforces have brought in more than £540 million since they were launched five years ago and there are bound to be changes as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
“We’re urging local business owners to be prepared and protect their hard-earned income, particularly cash-based businesses such as shops, restaurants, taxi firms and takeaways and also landlords who rent out residential properties, including student and holiday lettings.
“Provided they have all the right procedures, records and proof of income and expenditure in place, they have nothing to worry about, but it is vital they act first, rather than wait for the tax inspector to call. HMRC will impose harsher penalties if it thinks there has been no attempt to come forward and address any anomalies or ensure the paperwork is up to date.”
HMRC has launched more than 140 taskforces targeting specific sectors since 2011, bringing in progressively higher amounts each year. Taskforces can impose penalties of up to 100 per cent of unpaid tax, so double the sum originally due and their investigations have led to arrests for tax evasion and fraud.