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6 Sep 2023

Offers designed to help Londoners 'make the green transition' following the expansion of the ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) last month include a range of discounts, offers or trials available...

6 Sep 2023

A new report on the state of the UK cycle industry suggests that bike sales have fallen once again, months after it was reported that they had fallen to a 20-year low in 2022.

6 Sep 2023

Rebecca, staff member with the ACT has released an EP on the music platform Spotify, with popular local band Thee Derelique.

5 Sep 2023

A Government energy efficiency campaign has been launched to help SME businesses across the UK to both better understand and reduce their energy usage - and in turn reduce their energy bills....

4 Sep 2023

New research has named Danish capital Copenhagen as the best city for cyclists in Europe, with one-third (33%) of the city choosing to travel by bike. Copenhagen is also one of the safest cities...

4 Sep 2023

ACT member & Cytech-accredited Highway Cycles, Hertfordshire’s largest independent bike and e-bike specialist, has opened a new shop in Bishop’s Stortford.

24 Aug 2023

Volatility in the cycle insurance market that has resulted in most insurers backing away from the UK cycling industry owing to poor claims performance has led the ACT, through its appointed...

24 Aug 2023

Cytech training provider Spokes People were recently asked by the Afghan National Team if they could suggest any way for them to be supported mechanically at the UCI World Championships in...

22 Aug 2023

Cities across the country are following the lead of the Mayor of London, and ULEZ (Ultra Low Emissions Zone), by implementing their own measures to reduce carbon produced by combustion engines.

22 Aug 2023

Journeys made using Transport for London’s (TfL) cycle hire scheme this year are at their lowest in a decade, with the organisation blaming recent bad weather as a potential cause.

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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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