HMRC’s latest task force focuses on the North West Property Sector

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has just set up a taskforce to target property tax avoidance in the North West of England and North Wales.

It is estimated that property owners and landlords in the North West regions have avoided £5 million in tax. The taskforce is specifically targeting those who have sold one or more properties without paying Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and landlords who own or rent out three or more properties.

Similar rental taskforces in London have helped to recover £12 million, with reports of 80 property owners now facing criminal prosecution

HMRC’S task forces are made up of specialists from across HMRC’s enforcement and compliance teams including both civil and criminal investigation specialists. Each task force undertakes an intensive burst of compliance activity concerned with a particular trade or business within a specific region looking at groups of up to 600 taxpayers. Typically the task forces identify targets for investigations and select certain individuals for criminal prosecution.

Under this initiative, HMRC will use intelligence from the Land Registry, Valuation Office Agency and other sources, such as the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

Act Now

If you have undisclosed property income or gains, I would recommend that now is the ideal time to make a disclosure to HMRC. The Let Property Campaign is still open and has beneficial terms, such as reduced penalties and restricted time limits.  Penalties can be further reduced  for a voluntary disclosure, potentially to zero if a taxpayer offers a full unprompted disclosure. 

If tax payers wait until they are approached by HMRC then they can no longer take advantage of this, and are guaranteed to face significantly higher costs, penalties along with the intrusion of a HMRC enquiry.

We therefore strongly recommend that individuals consider disclosing their unpaid taxes as soon as possible and, where necessary, they seek specialist advice.  We have helped many clients to go through this process successfully and have a wealth of experience across the property income sector.