HMRCHMRC to target buy-to-let tax evaders

Buy-to-let investors who fail to declare their income are likely to be a key target of HM Revenue and Customs’ investigations, a top law firm has warned.

 A study by Pinsent Masons found there were 617 tax evasion prosecutions in 2012-13 – double that of the previous year.

Pinsent Masons partner Jason Collins said HMRC increasingly focused on smaller tax evaders in order to meet its target: “Many people see buy-to-let as a substitute for a pension. It may produce similar financial results but they need to remember they can still incur significant tax liabilities.

“For new, part-time landlords who put their buy-to-let properties to the back of their mind to focus on their day job while the money rolls in, it can be quite easy to get caught out.”

Doctors, dentists, lawyers, construction contractors and restaurant owners as well as landlords were likely to come under fire, he suggested.

In 2010, the government provided HMRC with an additional £917m to tackle tax avoidance and tax evasion, and later topped up funds to more than £1bn. HMRC beat its target of 565 prosecutions this year, despite failing to meet a much smaller target the previous year.

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