HMRC names and shames tax cheats

John Fitzsimons
by Lovemoney Staff John Fitzsimons on 21 February 2013  |  Comments 20 comments

Details of tax defaulters published on HMRC's website for the first time.

HMRC names and shames tax cheats

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has published the names of deliberate tax defaulters on its website for the first time.

What is a deliberate tax defaulter?

According to the taxman, a deliberate defaulter is a person who incurs a penalty for one of the following reasons:

  • an inaccuracy in a return or document for a tax period beginning on or after 1st April 2010;
  • a failure to comply with certain obligations, such as notifying HMRC of a liability to tax;
  • a VAT or excise wrongdoing, occurring on or after 1st April 2010.

Why can the taxman name and shame them?

The taxman was given the power to expose tax defaulters in the Finance Act 2009, to help it combat tax evasion and non-compliance.

They can be named in this way so long as all of the following are met:

  • the taxpayer is liable to a penalty for deliberate default;
  • without HMRC’s intervention, that deliberate default would have cost more than £25,000 in lost tax revenues; and
  • the taxpayer failed to make a full disclosure to HMRC at the outset, meaning they failed to receive the maximum reduction in penalties for full and early disclosure and assistance.

David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, explained: "The publication of these names sends a clear signal that cheating on tax is wrong and reassures people who pay their taxes – the vast majority – that there are consequences for those who refuse to tell HMRC about their full liability.

“It also encourages defaulters to make a full and prompt disclosure and co-operate with HMRC to avoid being named.”

Details of the first batch of deliberate defaulters that have been exposed by HMRC can be found on the defaulters' section of its website. The list will be updated each quarter. Names can only be published for 12 months and once all appeal routes against the related tax and penalties have been exhausted.

What do you think? Is this a sensible way to expose tax cheats? Will it make people less likely to try to escape paying their fair share? Let us know your thoughts in the Comment box below.

More on tax

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HMRC pursues tax-dodging top earners

How to cut your Inheritance Tax bill

Watch out for these HMRC tax refund scams

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Comments (20)

  • MK22
    Love rating 169
    MK22 said

    And the planet is going through a global financial crisis. No connection there obviously....

    Report on 22 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • SiGl26
    Love rating 26
    SiGl26 said

    Oddly enough, all the other yacht-owners I know bought their boats using taxed income, just like me (and most paid VAT too).

    Let's face, to tax YOU is unfair, to tax HIM is fair; it's human nature. There is legislation on transfer-pricing (or at least, there used to be); the problem with entities like Starbucks is coming up with a 'true' value of their branding, etc. I'd like to see it tested in court...

    If you look at the hurdles to 'name and (possibly) shame' it is pretty persistent and major defaulters who are targeted. More power to HMRC in pursuing all tax evaders...

    Report on 28 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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