HMRC has announced that a special taskforce will be focusing its efforts on individual and corporate tax cheats who live in the wealthy south and south east of England. Which means  if you’ve been less than transparent over your tax matters and live in Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Surrey, Wiltshire, South Buckinghamshire, Berkshire or Dorset, you could come horribly unglued.

You’re especially at risk if you have an offshore account or are obviously living beyond your apparent means. And HMRC claims it is likely to recover more than £2.8 million in unpaid taxes through the new initiative, a substantial amount.

Apparently HMRC taskforces have collected over £100 million since the 2011/12 tax year, an impressive sum that can be used for everyone’s good instead of squirrelled away by greedy, selfish and dishonest people. And it’s set to bring in at least £90 million a year over the next three years.

What do HMRC’s special taskforces do?

So what, exactly, is an HMRC ‘taskforce’? Apparently it’s a specialist team charged with looking at the fine detail of the finances of high-risk trade sectors and high risk locations. And they do much more than look at your records. They’ll be turning up on doorsteps, too.

If you’ve been playing the system, you don’t have a moral or legal leg to stand on. If you’re on the edge of dodgy, you’re in a risky position. As the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury said, “We are determined to support hardworking people who want to get on, but the people being targeted by these taskforces have no intention of playing by the rules.” Quite right too.

A ‘no tolerance’ approach

It’s good to see the Government taking a no tolerance approach to tax cheats and evaders. And they are determined to fund HMRC’s efforts to catch people and organisations that flout the rules while the rest of us put our hands in our moth-eaten pockets and pay what we owe year after year.

Tax cheat? Do the decent thing

What to do if you’re one of those at risk? If you don’t come clean now, before they catch you, you face big fines and even criminal prosecution. It’s up to you to do the decent thing before it’s too late, and join the real world like the rest of us ordinary mortals have to.