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12 Jun 2024

A £1 billion damages claim has been filed against Amazon on behalf of retailers selling on Amazon’s UK marketplace for illegally misusing their data and manipulating the Amazon Buy...

6 Jun 2024

Bradford-based Pennine Cycles has been named a High Street Hero in the Small Awards.
 

6 Jun 2024

Lee & Darren from Spokes People, one of Cytech’s UK training providers, are attending the National Cycling Show this weekend and will be delivering various workshops and sessions for...

3 Jun 2024

The British Independent Retailers Association has released the second episode of its 'High Street Matters' podcast series, this time tackling the important issue of accessibility for independent...

3 Jun 2024

Road Traffic Estimates data published by the Department for Transport has shown a 7.3% decline in cycling miles travelled and a 2.2% rise in car journeys between 2022 and 2023. It's...

3 Jun 2024

People will be able to have their bikes security marked in Devon as part of a scheme to keep cyclists safe.

3 Jun 2024

An amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill, put forward by former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, that was set to introduce the offense of “causing death by dangerous,...

3 Jun 2024

A programme to get more Londoners cycling across the capital is being launched by Transport for London (TfL).

3 Jun 2024

Consumer confidence has continued its “upward momentum” despite the cost-of-living crisis remaining a daily reality for households, a survey suggests.

20 May 2024

Cycling UK has launched the Inclusive Cycling Experience, a new programme funded by the Motability Foundation, to support disabled communities in Greater Manchester and Inverness to start...

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HMRC now holds 55 billion items of taxpayers' data as it bids to tackle tax evasion

Posted on in Business News , Cycles News

It has been reported by This Is Money that HMRC now holds 55 billion items of taxpayers' data, including email and bank records, as it cracks down on tax avoidance. The data is held on its AI-driven 'Connect' system, which was launched to tackle the growing tax gap, according to tax investigation insurance experts PfP.

HMRC logo

The tax gap is the difference between the tax that should be paid and the amount HMRC collects and last year the figure stood at £32 billion.

HMRC introduced its Connect system in 2010 to narrow this gap by using data to identify potential cases of tax evasion and avoidance and is used by HMRC to select individuals or businesses for further investigation.

The aim is to speed up the process of detecting and fraud and evasion by cross-referencing business's and people's tax records with other databases. It looks at everything from property ownership data from the Land Registry to overseas bank accounts and investment accounts.

The Connect system also looks at social media posts, bank and credit card records, DVLA records, social media posts, and most concerningly of all, HMRC will sweep your browsing history and email records too. PfP says this database has now grown to 6100 gigabytes of taxpayer data.

HMRC has been under pressure to recoup tax revenue after parliament's spending watchdog revealed a sharp fall in investigations over the pandemic cost the Government £9billion.

In December, the National Audit Office said HMRC had investigated around 30% fewer compliance cases between 2020 and 2021 compared with the previous year.

But now there are concerns that HMRC's blanket approach to collecting the data through its AI system means innocent individuals are coming under the taxman's investigations.

Kevin Igoe, managing director of PfP told This Is Money: 'Connect is now at the core of HMRC's tax investigations.
'It allows HMRC to analyse billions of data points to pinpoint taxpayers for closer scrutiny.

'It's an incredibly complex and intelligent computer system. However, the system can easily produce "false positives" and trigger investigations into innocent individuals and businesses.

'Due to the "automatic" nature of the Connect system, innocent taxpayers can end up under investigation through no fault of their own.'

A HMRC spokesperson told This Is Money: 'Connect is a powerful analytical tool that we have used since 2010, which has helped make us a world leader in using data and insight to inform and manage risk.

'The Connect system is not the sole deciding factor in beginning or deciding the direction of a tax investigation.

'Other factors are also considered and human insight always makes the final judgement.'
 

Tax investigtation protection


ACT members can access protection in the event of a PAYE or a VAT inspection.
Every individual business is at risk of tax investigation. In the event of a tax investigation our members are covered* with our long-standing partner DAS.
 
The complexities of the tax system can prove really challenging. Regardless of how well you or your accountants complete your tax returns you can still end up involved in a dispute with HMRC. A tax investigation can be carried out for absolutely no reason at all, and random spot checks are undertaken to help ensure businesses are paying the required amount of tax.

HMRC can investigate a business at any time, even years after it has closed. On average, an investigation takes around 16 months.  These disputes can be expensive, time consuming and stressful, so make sure you're protected.

For more information, click here.

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