A taskforce tackling wealthy tax cheats who are living beyond their means in Northern Ireland was launched today by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
HMRC is using Land Registry and Merchant Acquirer data to identify those with “badges of wealth” such as large houses, aeroplanes, boats and undeclared offshore bank accounts which are not in keeping with the information they report to HMRC.
The taskforce is expected to recover nearly £18 million. It will bring together specialist officers from across HMRC to identify wealth indicators and cross reference them with the data HMRC holds about their owners.
HMRC’s Ian McCafferty, Taskforce Lead, said:
“Our intelligence shows that people being targeted by this taskforce have no intention of playing by the rules and could end up facing a heavy fine or even a criminal conviction. Those who pay the tax they are supposed to have nothing to worry about.
“Using the information we hold, we can target people whose lifestyle does not reflect the tax they are paying. It’s not fair that a small minority are living the millionaire lifestyle as a result of them not paying their tax, while the rest of us live within our means and pay our fair share.
"Earlier this year a separate taskforce used similar HMRC data to identify and prosecute Dr Francis Gerard D’Arcy, a Belfast ear, nose and throat consultant. After a successful prosecution, he was sentenced to four concurrent, two-year jail sentences for evading taxes of nearly £500,000. This new taskforce will be targeting similar wealthy individuals who have evaded their taxes."
People who know someone who is evading their taxes can tell HMRC by calling the Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887.