HMRC is launching 30 new tax evasion task forces over the next year across three sectors and the motor trade is one of them.
The taskforces will target specific business sectors in specific locations where there is evidence of tax evasion. The other sectors include indoor and outdoor markets and clothing sellers.
Sue Robinson, RMI director, said: "The RMI support any initiative that ensures all businesses are paying the correct tax.
"However we are concerned that once again the motor trade appears to have been singled out by the HMRC. We believe that the majority of our sector work extremely hard to ensure that their tax returns are correct, with many investing heavily in support staff and professional advice to ensure they are meeting their tax liabilities.
“We advise all RMI members to regularly review their tax procedures to ensure that they are correctly accounting for tax on all their business activities. We also are here to give guidance and advise to members on any relevant issues.”
HMRC expects to collect over £50 million as a result of 12 taskforces launched last year and currently has 13 criminal investigations under way; this figure is set to rise.
Richard Summersgill, HMRC’s director of local compliance, said: “Taskforces only target people who are at high risk of breaking the rules and don’t pay the tax they owe.
“We know we’re going after the right people – some taskforces have hit rates of 100 per cent so far.
“Only those who choose to break the rules, or deliberately evade the tax they should be paying, will be targeted. If you deliberately seek to evade tax, HMRC can and will track you down, and you’ll face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well.”
Taskforces come as a result of the Government’s £917m spending review investment to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud from 2011/12, which aims to raise an additional £7bn each year by 2014/15.