HMRC, Police and that Phone Hacking Scandal
HMRC are to run investigations into the affairs of police officers who took tip-off payments from private investigators and newspapers amidst the News of the World’s phone hacking scandal…
HMRC are set to look into officers’ personal tax records to check if alleged payments, made to police officers by newspapers and private investigators, had been fully disclosed.
Officers under investigation by HMRC may find that they are faced with large HMRC tax penalties and even the prospect of criminal tax prosecution.
HM Revenue and Customs have begun selecting self-assessment forms from previous years, after new information was brought to light during News of the World’s phone hacking allegations.
Under current UK tax rules it is compulsorily for payments received due to an individual’s employment to be disclosed for tax purposes – even if the money earned is considered ‘illegal’.
Metropolitan police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, recently exposed documents provided by News International that included information regarding ‘inappropriate payments’ to police officers.
News International are said to have submitted details of payments, made to senior police officers from the News of the World, during 2003-2007.
HMRC have confirmed that they will take action on any new information they receive regarding illegal earnings, which can still be liable for tax.
A spokesman, for HM Revenue and Customs, said:
“If you receive money in connection with your employment then it is liable for income tax. Illegality is irrelevant.”
HMRC have been cracking down on UK tax cheats over the past year – increasing prosecutions and tax investigations into alleged tax evaders.
Government funding of an additional £900m at the start of this year, has enabled the Inland Revenue to open more HMRC investigations into Tax Evasion; in the hopes of raising an extra £7bn in tax each year by 2014/2015.
During a typical HMRC investigation into tax evasion, the taxpayer’s earnings over the previous 6 years will be audited. If an inaccurate tax return has been submitted during that time, HMRC can demand full repayment of the tax, including interest and a maximum tax penalty of 100% of the tax in question.
Since April this year, a new scheme was introduced allowing the Inland Revenue to publicly name and shame tax payers who have deliberately evaded over £25,000 of tax.
Tax evaders can avoid having their names, addresses and details published, only if they make a full disclosure to HMRC.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) added that although not out of the question, criminal prosecutions are reserved for the highest level and most serious cases of tax fraud.
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First and foremost you should appoint a tax enquiry expert.
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