Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Campaigns provide opportunities for people to voluntarily put their tax affairs in order. They do this by identifying a target group and gathering information and intelligence that can be used to encourage and influence people in that group to come forward.
Once a Campaign closes, HMRC uses that same information and intelligence to follow up, with action that can include criminal investigations aimed at those who choose not to pay what they owe.
Campaigns launched to date have produced a yield of nearly £510 million from voluntary disclosures, and more than £120 million from non-compliance follow up in a large number of civil interventions, including over 18,000 completed investigations. There are also 23 criminal cases underway with one conviction already secured.
Three coming campaigns are:
- The Direct Selling Campaign- this will be aimed at those who sell products to customers away from a retail shop, often in the customers own homes. Sellers are sometimes referred to as 'Agents' for the companies whose products they sell. Selling could involve a party, sales door to door or simply selling to friends or relatives. For this campaign however, it will not involve those selling financial products. Sellers or Agents take commission on those sales which they should report to HMRC if they earn enough to pay tax. This Campaign will focus on helping the increasing numbers of customers involved in direct selling - including those wanting to top up their income from another job or work after redundancy/retirement, and those people doing it around caring commitments - to understand their tax obligations and set them on the right track for the future.
- The Missing Returns Campaign- this is aimed at individuals who have been sent an Income Tax Self Assessment (ITSA) tax return or have been told they are required to submit a completed return but have so far failed to do so. The first phase, to be launched in 2012-13, will focus on individuals who have failed to submit completed ITSA returns for 2009-10 and earlier and who are liable to pay tax at the highest rates - 40% and 50%. This campaign will be part of the wider activity in HMRC, aimed at tackling failures to submit completed returns, and will provide a time limited opportunity to encourage those who want to get their tax affairs up to date to come forward.
- The Trades Sweep-up Campaign- this is the third Campaign focussing on the home repair, maintenance and improvement (Home Maintenance) sector following the Plumbers' Tax Safe Plan and Electricians' Tax Safe Plan Campaigns. This 'sweep up' will focus on trades people working in a variety of skilled trades such as roofing, window fitting, carpentry, bricklaying and joinery. This campaign will encourage all those trades people working in the home improvement sector with unpaid tax, who have yet to come forward, to bring their tax affairs up to date in a straightforward way using a time limited opportunity.