HMRC Crack Down On Unpaid Tax Targeting Avon & Ann Summers Reps
It appears that the tax man is on a mission to reclaim unpaid tax from several groups of direct sellers.
For many individuals, being an Avon rep or Ann Summers party host does not provide a big earning opportunity and may bring only a few pounds in here and there. Yet, these sales reps are now being targeted by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), with the suggestion that the industry of ‘direct selling’ is a sector of the economy likely to be missing a high number of tax returns.
Not only has Avon been affected, but Ann Summers party hosts and ‘Jamie At Home’ parties too. Basically, if you work selling goods direct to others, you are likely to be scrutinised by the taxman.
Who Else Is Being Targeted?
It is not just direct sellers that are being targeted either, as the HMRC have launched a campaign to crack down on home improvement traders too, these include the likes of; bricklayers, carpenters, roofers and window fitters too. This has come about following a very similar campaign targeted at plumbers.
Last, but not least HMRC are pursuing taxpayers who have failed to complete tax returns, making them accountable to pay tax at a much greater rate. It is these people that HMRC are targeting first.
If you haven’t filed your tax return yet, you are likely to get at least a £100 fine (whether you owe tax or not).
How Is the Taxman Cracking Down?
By utilising advanced technologies, HMRC are eager to target anyone not paying their full tax obligations. They will be doing so through means of the Internet by searching the web for information about targeted people and companies.
The information gathered, is then to be likened to tax returns sent to HMRC. From this, if HMRC decide that something doesn’t quite add up, a visit from the taxman should be expected.
Have You Made a Mistake?
If you discover that you haven’t been paying enough tax through the money you have made from either home improvement trading or direct selling, do not panic. You can try to amend your errors in order to limit the possible damage. HMRC offer the opportunity to come forward in order to put your case across and put your affairs in order.
In other words, if you admit your own mistakes and tell the taxman that you have every intention to put things right, the penalty you receive will be far smaller, as opposed to waiting for a knock at the door from the inspectors at Revenue & Customs. Just remember, for those of you who hope keeping quiet will help, this could in fact result in you facing a criminal investigation.
It is clear to see why HMRC want to target more and more people, having gained such a strong response from the campaign they launched at plumbers where nearly 600 people came forward to declare unpaid tax (which totalled to over 4 million pounds). In addition to this, nearly 1,000 civil cases were prepared, whilst 10 plumbers were arrested.
If you would like to come forward voluntarily to disclose a case of unpaid tax, the number you need to ring is 0845 601 5041.
Will More Campaigns Come Forward?
There are still plenty more tricks up the taxman’s sleeve, with a further two more campaigns to launch before the end of the tax year.
Initially, a campaign will be targeted towards the likes of e-marketplaces who utilise sites such as eBay in order to buy and sell goods as a business, yet don’t pay the tax that is owed. However, eBay users who simply buy and sell items on the side, rather than as a business are not likely to be targeted.
The second campaign will be targeted at electricians. This is due to the success that the plumbers campaign brought to HMRC. Following on from this, we are likely to see more and more tradesman being targeted by separate campaigns.
The Targeted Approach Is To Continue
It seems a fair amount of success has come about from the HMRC’s targeted approach so far. By choosing specific sectors of the economy to target areas where tax revenues have been somewhat uncontrolled, HMRC have been able to draw back a vast amount of money.
Predictably, criticism will always occur in response to small sums of money being recovered. The 4 million pounds recovered from the plumbers campaign is in fact spare change in comparison to the mobile network Vodaphone and their 7 billion pound tax bill that was waived recently by HMRC.
So, what is your opinion? Do you think HMRC are right to conduct these small & targeted campaigns at individuals, or not?