HMRC taskforces

By Tolley in association with Guy Smith of inTAX Ltd

The following Corporation Tax guidance note by Tolley in association with Guy Smith of inTAX Ltd provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • HMRC taskforces
  • Introduction
  • The blurring of distinction between HMRC initiatives
  • 2011/12 Task Forces
  • 2012/13 Task Forces
  • 2013/14 taskforces
  • 2014/15 taskforces
  • 2015/16 taskforces
  • What will HMRC do on arrival at the business premises?
  • Legislative powers
  • The role of the agent


In May 2011, HMRC introduced a new initiative aimed at tackling deliberate tax evasion called taskforce activity.

Taskforces focus on geographically specific business sectors where HMRC suspects high risk tax evasion is taking place.

Multi-disciplined teams, comprised of direct tax and VAT staff, are often supplemented by Benefits Agency staff looking for benefit fraudsters and, occasionally, Police Officers and UK Border Agency Enforcement Officers too. The teams descend on the targeted business sector and ask to see business records and interview staff.

When the new initiative was announced, Mike Eland, HMRC’s Director General Enforcement and Compliance, said:

“These taskforces are a new approach which uses HMRC’s resources to identify rule-breakers and evaders swiftly and effectively.

Only those who choose to break the rules, or deliberately evade the tax they should be paying, will be targeted.”

In the years since 2011, HMRC has learned from the early taskforce activity and the way in which taskforces are launched has changed. Whilst the taskforces have always been intelligence-led, HMRC is now operating a ‘test and learn’ phase before going into a 'full' taskforce. The test and learn phases mean that HMRC works on a small number of cases and uses the findings with its Risk and Intelligence Service to refine and improve the case profile in readiness for a full taskforce, which consists of far more cases.

For an interactive map showing the taskforce activity to date, see the HMRC Digital Pilots  website. You can use the tools in the bottom right of the map to zoom in and look at specific areas in more detail. The key can be expanded by clicking on the box in the top left corner of the map.

The blurring of distinction between HMRC initiatives

Task Forces are often confused with Campaigns and Business Records Checks.