HMRC launch crackdown on Greater London property transactions

Entrepreneurs with property portfolios in the Greater London area should ensure finances are in order after HM Revenue & Customs launched a task force investigating property transactions in the region.

The new taskforce has been set up to investigate property transactions where they believe the parties involved have failed to comply with the Option to Tax regime.

Anyone caught up in the investigation could face further scrutiny too, with HMRC planning cross-tax reviews of any businesses they find that are involved in any dubious practices.

In these instances, organisations operating through an offshore company would remain exempt from HMRC rules and therefore protected from investigation.

Alternatively, an offshore company registration could offer similar protection against further scrutiny over finances from the government.

Those businesses failing to utilise these rules and involved in property dealings in London could face a difficult future with HMRC keen to crack down on any suggestion of tax avoidance in the UK economy.

Neil Hedger, HMRC's London Taskforce team leader, said: “This taskforce will come down hard on commercial companies that have chosen to break the rules and deliberately evade the taxes they should be paying.

“The message is clear – if you deliberately seek to evade tax we can and will track you down and you’ll face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well.

The taskforce is one of 12 planned by HMRC over the next 12 months, with more to follow.