Private tutors targeted

Private tutors are the latest target for the HMRC in a crackdown on tax dodging and the so-called ‘tax gap’ between what should have been paid by businesses and individuals and what was collected.

David Gauke, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘Although these numbers show continued progress by HMRC in reducing the tax gap, there is no room for complacency. Just in the last few weeks, we have challenged offshore tax evaders, closed tax avoidance loopholes and created a new HMRC unit to ensure that the wealthier members of society pay their way.’

There’s been a lot of publicity recently on tax avoidance among the mega rich. Last week an announcement was made that a team of ‘affluence’ inspectors were to target those whose personal wealth is more than £2.5m suspected of avoiding tax. But now the tables have turned, and the HMRC is to turn its attention to relatively low-level tax-dodging by private tutors, which could include music and language teachers, horse riding instructors and fitness coaches. This includes schoolteachers who work as private tutors to supplement their incomes.

And they plan to employ the latest technology such as ‘web robot’ software to search the internet and dig up information about people, companies and their financial affairs. The idea, according to a spokesperson, is to then use this information ‘to pursue people who choose not to use the opportunities we provide for them to put their affairs in order on the best possible terms.’

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