Many sole traders and small business owners in the UK are oblivious to the insider dealings of HMRC, formerly known as the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise.
Many seem to think that because their businesses are very small, the Tax Man will not notice them. How wrong they are. HMRC have the most state-of-the-art technology at their disposal and are very much aware of the activities of individual traders. Most often under the spotlight are market traders and construction industry workers, but more recently the work-at-home entrepreneurs have attracted much interest.
More and more individuals are setting up online businesses and selling just about every type of product imaginable. Some are earning five and six-figure incomes from auction sites like ebay and some are doing very nicely from Googles Adsense program. Its not difficult for HMRC inspectors to track down website owners and ebay sellers and they also have the power to access traders PayPal records and accounts.
Anyone not declaring their incomes from these business activities are putting themselves right in the firing line. Tax fraud and tax evasion are serious matters, which can result in very serious consequences. Should a tax inspector become suspicious of a trader, he can instigate a full investigation. The whole process could take months, during which time they will uncover every single piece of evidence needed to prosecute the perpetrator.
Depending on the severity of the tax fraud or the extent of the tax evasion, the individuals concerned could find themselves facing a heavy financial penalty, business closure, loss of the family home or even imprisonment. And they will still have to pay back all taxes due. Is it worth the risk?
Its a gamble with unfanciable odds and overwhelming risks. The only answer is to play it straight and play it fair. Who wants to be looking over their shoulder for the rest of their working life? Like it or not we all have to pay our share of taxes. But that doesnt mean you have to give it all away to the taxman. Just be sure to claim for every single allowance available and for every single tax deductible item which is applicable.
Youll find that your tax bill will be a lot less than you thought. And more importantly youll be able to sleep at night. The best advice is to get the best advice. Better still if you can get an inside view of how the governments HMRC organization works and stay ahead of the game eh? If only