Belfast Telegraph

Revenue crackdown on VAT cheats

Customs and revenue staff believe they can recoup up to £3 million after revealing that some businesses are being set up solely to make false VAT repayment claims.

The Northern Ireland team - one of more than 50 that have been established throughout the UK since 2011 - will carry out examinations of company records as part of their investigations into tax evasion and fraud.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) says it aims to bring in £3 million.

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said: "This Government has made it clear that we will not tolerate tax evasion and has provided HMRC with the resources to crack down on those who break the rules."

An estimated £90 million has been recovered in the last two years and the amount is expected to be doubled over the next three years.

VAT cheats will face heavy fines, or even jail, according to Jennie Granger, director general of enforcement and compliance.

She said: "It is really important that we level the playing field by stopping tax cheats. Our message is: do the right thing. If you haven't already, come clean now. If you don't, we will find you, investigate you and not only could you face a heavy fine, but you may face a criminal prosecution as well."

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