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Taskforce partners target tax evasion in Blackpool

Press Release   •   Nov 05, 2013 14:13 GMT

Enforcement agencies have combined forces to swoop on suspected tax evaders in Blackpool as part of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC’s) ongoing Holiday Industry Taskforce.

More than 50 officers from HMRC, supported by Blackpool Council Trading Standards and Lancashire Constabulary, visited 64 premises on Friday 1st of November, checking that they were trading legitimately.

Chris Brett, HMRC’s Blackpool Taskforce leader, said:

“This is part of wider HMRC taskforce activity, concentrating on caravan parks, hotels, bed and breakfasts, pubs, takeaways, restaurants, and licensed grocers in Blackpool, the Lake District and North Wales. Working with our partners to share intelligence, 64 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.”

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. 

Notes for editors

1.  Businesses checked in this exercise included:

-  31 takeaways – these were National Minimum Wage visits, undertaken to protect underpaid employees – numerous issues identified,  all of which are being followed up by HMRC. 

-  15 hotels and b&bs – tax and VAT investigations continue.

-  18 licensed retailers and corner shops - 2135 of beer, wine and spirits were seized,  with a duty value in excess of £4000.

2.  HMRC has launched 43 taskforces since 2011. A further 27 are planned for 2013-14 and 30 for 2014-15.

3.  Taskforces have been made possible by the Government’s £917 million spending review investment to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud from 2011-12, which aims to raise an additional £7 billion each year by 2014-15.

4.  People who are aware of someone who is evading their taxes can tell HMRC via the Tax Evasion Hotline by phone, on 0800 788 887, by email or by post. Full details can be found at

5.  Follow HMRC on Twitter at: @hmrcgovuk

6.  HMRC’s Flickr channel

Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.

HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.