HMRC Warning for SME’s and Online Users


Recently we have seen signs of a new proactive and aggressive HMRC in dealing with tax evasion and tax avoidance schemes, particularly when dealing with SMEs. In a previous blog, we explained the tax actions to consider before the 5th April 2019, which included the likes of ‘the loan charge’ – new reports state that the loan charge avoidance scheme is now subject to a Judicial Review and is currently going through the legal process, due to some HMRC parties suspecting fraudulent schemes.

In the last month 50 HMRC officers have raided business premises and residential addresses throughout the Home Counties – and 6 people have been arrested.

Restaurants Under Fire

HMRC have announced that they are ‘coming after’ SMEs within the restaurant industry. Using their previously successful task force system, they are said to form a specialist restaurant task force to investigate approximately 200 restaurants on HMRC’s current list of deliberate tax defaulters. Restaurants are considered, by HMRC, to be at a higher risk of under-declaring taxes due to their high volume of cash transactions.

Social Media Influencers & Online Traders

HMRC also have internet users in their sights, including ‘teenagers and millennials’, who they believe are taking advantage of social media platforms to make money – for example YouTubers, E-Bay traders and more. Be aware; these social media platforms are now being monitored by HMRC, as making regular money from the internet may be considered by HMRC as earnings and liable to UK taxes – rather than just a hobby!

Offshore Tax Gains

Businesses that hide fraudulent gains offshore are also being investigated by HMRC. The ‘No Safe Havens 2019’ strategy has been instigated by HMRC – which allows them to have a 12-year window to assess additional UK tax. HMRC need the data of offshore activities and they receive this data from tax information exchange agreements with over 150 countries worldwide.

Take Action! – We Can Help

As can be seen, the message from HMRC is very clear they are coming for the systematic and habitual UK tax defaulters, whether arising from onshore or offshore activities. This is amplified by penalties levied at a rate linked to the amount of the tax-defaulted on, with even higher penalties for tax criminals who do not confess voluntarily, prior to the opening of a formal HMRC Enquiry.

You have been warned! Our team at HaesCooper can help you complete your UK tax compliance affairs correctly, or if you have fallen foul of the HMRC, we can help you with the stressful requirements of dealing with the HMRC. This process involves the non-technical and the technical issues involved, right through to the conclusion of the HMRC investigation. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information via email,, or phone 01892 890099.

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