What can HMRC find out about you? When meeting new prospects we often hear “Well, HMRC won’t find out about that’ and we cringe.
Not just because they’ve just effectively admitted tax evasion, but because HMRC can find out a lot more than you think, and in this digital age have access to a lot more than just the paper records you provide them with.
The information they have is no longer viewed separately, but cross referenced against all the other information they can access to check that the income and tax position you present to them stacks up. So what can HMRC find out about you?
- Bank accounts – from this year HMRC will receive information from banks in over 60 countries as well as the UK, so do not think keeping money abroad will keep it out of their sight.
- DVLA records – HMRC can access details of cars purchased and sold by individuals – so if you are selling cars for a living but not telling the taxman, think again. Also, if you have told them you have low earnings but have just bought a new Mercedes they will want to know how you can afford to pay for it.
- Online shops and marketplaces – Sites like eBay, Amazon and Gumtree can be accessed to identify people trading regularly who should be paying income tax and VAT on their sales.
- Land Registry records – HMRC can see properties purchased and the amount of stamp duty paid on them. So if you have told them you have no earnings, but have just purchased a £1 million house then they will be suspicious as to how you have afforded it.
- Total earnings – thanks to RTI and CIS submissions, HMRC will know your earnings from any employer (including benefits), even those that were on a casual basis. They also have access to the Child Support Agency and can tell what child benefit and maintenance you have received through them.
- Social Media – The Connect System can look at public account information from sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. So if you have told them you are unemployed and then post pictures of yourself working, you are shooting yourself in the foot. The same goes for posting about expensive holidays whilst saying you have low earnings.
- Credit card transactions – Visa and Mastcard will provide information on all payments made and received so do not think keeping stuff away from the main bank account will keep it hidden.
- Tax documents – HMRC has access to your whole tax history including any registrations for different taxes, any investigations or failings, council tax paid and what it missing but you should have.
- Web and email history – using the ‘Snoppers Charter’, HMRC can access all your digital information and see exactly what you have been doing and discussing.
Don’t try to hide things from HMRC. If you are trying to hide them, you probably already know that what you are doing is not right. Read our blog here on what the difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance is, and which is legal and which is not.
If you have any questions about this blog – or any other on our site – then please get in touch on the details above.