On the face of it, the list of nine businesses in the tax rogues gallery seems small fish to be attracting this much attention. The amounts that they owe the tax man are generally in the region of £20-£30,000 plus penalties, with just one, a Cheshire wine company, owing a six figure sum.
The exercise is the first of its kind in the UK, although similar publicity schemes operate in Ireland and Australia. HMRC explained to Shout99 that there is a strict selection criteria to choose who, amongst the Revenue tax defaulters, makes it on this list. This is more to do with deliberate defaulting and ignoring or avoiding opportunities to make the payment, than the amount in question.
HMRC looks to publish details where there has been an investigation and the person has been charged with one or more penalties for deliberate defaults; the penalties involve tax of more than £25,000; and other avenues, such as appeals, have been exhausted.
New tax rogues will be added on a quarterly basis and the information relating to names and addresses stays in the public domain for 12 months.
However, the publication of the details does come with an HMRC warning:
Please note that each entry relates specifically to the dates listed. It should not be assumed that tax defaults are currently taking place at the published address or by the published person because, for example:
- the published person may have changed their behaviour
- the published person may no longer be at the published address
- the business currently at the published address may have no connection with published business
- the business currently at the published address may have the same name as the published business but could be under completely new management.
An HMRC spokesman told Shout99 that the fact that a third of the nine businesses are from Merseyside and over half from the North West is just a coincidence.
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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2013