Tax investigations into SMEs net HMRC £540m in five years

Over the past five years, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has reeled in a staggering £540million from its investigations into Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), according to a new report.

A map published in The Telegraph, which pinpointed the areas of Britain, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland where HMRC investigators had taken action, revealed that firms in almost all major UK cities had been hit by unexpected investigations.

Last year alone, HMRC taskforces honed in on 50 different industries across the country, and reclaimed £248m in evaded tax from small businesses, The Telegraph reported.

HMRC said that its “state-of-the-art” computing and analytics software is increasingly making it ‘impossible’ for firms to ‘cheat the system’.

A taskforce unit spokesperson said: “Taskforce activity has a deterrent effect, discouraging those tempted to break the rules.

“Our taskforces cover a range of regions and businesses, but yield figures should not be considered the only measure of success”.

HMRC cited shops, partnerships, tobacco sellers, income tax repayments and more as recent ‘taskforce targets’.

Jennie Granger, HMRC’s director of enforcement, said: “Our expert analysts are at the cutting edge of developing and exploiting intelligence and smart data to tackle those who try to cheat the system”.