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Nowhere to hide

15 May 2019

Connect, HMRC’s sophisticated IT system, is being used more and more to identify income and gains that have not been declared, according to accountant’s Blick Rothenberg.

“Connect completely changes the dynamic of how HMRC commits investigation resource to risk and enables thematic and risk-based enquiries across the taxpaying population, said the firm’s director of tax risk, Jessica McLellan.

She added: “No taxpayer can hide from the sophisticated electronic searches available to HMRC, it’s not just about identifying income and gains; the searches are being used to provide key information about wider lifestyle questions – for example the existence of offshore assets, expensive flights to exotic destinations, or purchase of high vale assets in the UK such as property or classic cars.” McLellan explained that this allows HMRC to consider a wider wealth picture and whether it fits with the tax returns submitted by the individual.

She said many people just don’t realise what information HMRC can count on. We know that the following sources can and are being looked at:

*Online marketplaces and adverts such as eBay, Autotrader, Rightmove and Zoopla.

*Online payment providers such as PayPal.

*Data from banks, pension funds and other financial firms that are required to report t HMRC.

*Debit & credit card transactions.

*Information from credit references agencies.

*Offshore financial information shared under Common Reporting Standard and the Crown Dependencies and Overs Territories automatic tax information exchange.

*Flight sales and passenger information from airlines.

*Companies House records.

*DVLA records

*Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) records.

*The Electoral Role.

*Council Tax Register.

*Land Registry.

*Gas Safe Register.

*The Charities Commission.

*Thematic third party information as part of a specific campaign, ie insurance and healthcare companies.

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