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VAT clampdown after abuse alleged

Customs officers are visiting retailers who sell cars to disabled people to assess them for VAT as a result of an ongoing investigation into an alleged multi-million pound tax evasion scam.

The move coincides with the investigation in south Yorkshire and Lancashire into alleged tax evasion involving disabled cust-omers and, in some cases, luxury car dealers.

South Yorkshire police said six people had been arrested as part of an investigation into VAT and benefit fraud. The Department for Work and Pensions is also involved.

The investigation centres on allegations of abuse of tax relief available to wheelchair users, allowing them to purchase adapted vehicles for personal use without paying VAT.

Large numbers of luxury vehicles, including Range Rovers, Maseratis and Bentleys, were allegedly bought and adapted for disabled users then stripped of their adaptations and sold on at a profit.

Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association, told AM: “We are urging dealers to ensure that their systems are sufficiently robust to pick up instances of abuse, and to ensure that they do not fall foul of customs.

“The NFDA is making dealers aware that there is a problem with the abuse of the disabled vehicle VAT concession.”

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