HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) has updated its list of tax cheats, with individuals who are car dealers, electricians and hairdressers publicly named on its website.
The most prolific evader owes almost £30m to the taxman. Saad Victoria, a Manchester-based food and wine business which went into liquidation earlier this year, owes some £29.5m.
Also named on the list are Kevin and Deborah Mann, who owe £78,557 after dodging £112,225 in tax whilst running Electrical Installation and Repairs business Moonshine Ltd and D K Express.
Others on the list include a Yorkshire-based hairdresser who owes £19,000, the owner of an Off Licence who must pay back £21,500 and a farmer who was given a penalty of some £10,000.
HMRC said the individuals had either deliberately submitted inaccurate returns, failed to comply with an obligation, or deliberately committed a wrongdoing which would have cheated the Exchequer out of more than £25,000 if HMRC had not carried out an investigation.
Jennie Granger, HMRC’s director of enforcement and compliance, said the tax body is targeting the ‘small minority’ of people who avoid their responsibilities. ‘Publishing taxpayers’ names is not something we do lightly. We are publishing the names of tax cheats as it lets the community know we are tackling this and encourage others to get back on track.’
HMRC first published its list of tax evaders in February 2013, and the list is updated every quarter in the hope that it will deter would-be offenders. However the move has caused some controversy, with critics arguing that HMRC is focusing on ‘easy target’ small firms while some international corporations go unpunished.