According to the Tax Man – very little.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has recently launched a raft of new task-forces to seek out tax evaders in different areas of the country.
The five new task forces have been instructed to focus specifically on:
- scrap metal dealers in Scotland, focusing on those who are deliberately suppressing their income or inflating expenditure to evade paying tax
- construction traders who are self-employed or run their own company who suppress sales or over-claim expenses in the North West and North Wales
- taxpayers not submitting their statutory returns across Corporation Tax, Income tax Self-Assessment, PAYE and VAT in the South East
- fast food outlets deliberately falsifying their records and mis-declaring their true sales levels to avoid paying the correct taxes in Scotland
- landlords – owning or renting three or more properties – evading their tax responsibilities in North West and North Wales.
Exactly why landlords in Wales and North West England are considered less likely to be up to date with their tax returns remains unclear, but according the minister responsible they should expect to be found out:
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke MP, warned:
“We will not tolerate those who break the rules. This taskforce will come down hard on scrap metal dealers and their customers or suppliers who have chosen to break the rules or deliberately evade the tax they should be paying. This is just the start”.
“It doesn’t matter who you are – HMRC can and will track you down. You will face a heavy fine, a possible criminal prosecution and ultimately jail”.
Of course the vast majority of landlords have nothing to worry about – but it is a timely reminder for all of us that the deadline for paper tax returns has just passed, while landlords planning to submit an online form only have until 31 January 2012 to file. Click here for key tax dates.