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Issue: July at  18 July 2013

Taskforce partners target tax evasion in Blackpool

ENFORCEMENT agencies combined forces to swoop on suspected tax evaders in Blackpool last week (Thursday 11 July). HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) led Operation Targeted Traders, linked to the leisure and holiday industry, in the resort. During the activity, supported by Blackpool Council Trading Standards and Lancashire Constabulary, HMRC officers visited 60 premises, checking that they were trading legitimately.

Chris Brett, HMRC’s Blackpool Taskforce leader, said:- “This is part of wider HMRC taskforce activity launched this week, concentrating on caravan parks, hotels, B&Bs, pubs, takeaways, restaurants, and licensed grocers in Blackpool, the Lake District and North Wales. Working with our partners to share intelligence, 60 traders had their businesses spot-checked.

Evading tax is a deliberate decision by some people not to pay the tax that they know is due. Our intelligence suggests that there is a significant risk of under-declaration of income in the leisure and holiday sector in Blackpool. This deprives the community of funds and gives dishonest traders an unfair advantage over legitimate businesses.

If you are know of someone evading their taxes, you can call HMRC’s Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Councillor Gillian Campbell, Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Housing, said:- “Millions of families will visit Blackpool this summer spending their hard-earned cash on accommodation, food and entertainment. It is wholly unacceptable for traders to be receiving this money if they are breaking the law on a daily basis by evading tax.

Our message is clear – if you can’t operate within the law, we don’t want you in Blackpool. I’m sure that these raids will result in some businesses closing down but as far as I’m concerned that can only be a good thing, both for the customers that use them and for the other traders who work legitimately.”

Chief Inspector Ian Mills said:- “Lancashire Constabulary fully supports HMRC in this operation and we will be providing a police presence when needed. Tax evasion, at any level, is an offence that is taken extremely seriously and we have been working together with HMRC to help protect the public and bring offenders to justice.”

Taskforces are specialist teams that undertake intensive bursts of activity in specific high risk trade sectors and locations in the UK. The teams visit traders to examine their records and carry out other investigations.   HMRC and the other agencies involved will now consider further action against offenders, including full tax and VAT investigations and a review of alcohol and other trading licenses.

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