We’ve said it before, and we’ll keep on banging this drum until everyone gets the message. You’re not a hero when you try to hide money from the taxman. You’re not some romantic Robin Hood getting one over on HMRC in the name of freedom. You’re a criminal, and sooner or later you’re going to get caught out.

2019 was a pretty big year for tax frauds falling foul of the law. All told, around 600 cheats were convicted of tax crimes and over another 600 people found themselves on the wrong end of an HMRC investigation. Here are a few of the top examples:

  • Jailed: an international criminal gang that ran an £87 million money laundering scheme and stole well over £30 million in VAT. With 46 years in prison to go around, there’s plenty of time for them to count the cost.
  • Jailed: 2 crooks caught running a fake investment scam as a tax avoidance scheme that pretended to be pumping money into worthy causes like conservation and medical research. Around £60 million was involved, and the pair got over 14 years in prison.
  • Jailed: 8 years behind bars for a tax-dodging runaway who scarpered to Prague after cheating UK tax laws to the tune of £17 million.
  • Jailed: a mechanic who helped tax cheats skip the country to avoid paying the penalty for £1 million worth of VAT fraud.
  • Jailed: perhaps the lowest of the low, the treasurer of a charity who used a fraudulent Gift Aid scam to try and make off with well over £300,000.

Of course, you don’t need to be some big-league money launderer or the mastermind behind a massive tax avoidance scam to find yourself caught in HMRC headlights. Fraud investigations are a pretty big money-spinner for the taxman, bringing in a grand total of £5 billion a year on average. In fact, HMRC slapped almost £8 million in fines to one London business alone for money laundering last year. It’s very much in the taxman’s interests to chase up tax cheats as hard and as often as possible – and if you play by the rules, it’s in your interests too. Tax fraud picks everyone’s pocket, sucking the life out of public services that we all depend on. It may not seem like a big deal to some people just to skim a little off their tax bill once in a while. Looking at the bigger picture, though, it’s a serious problem and HMRC’s doing the only thing it can about it. They’re clawing back as much of the lost money as possible. It can be difficult, complicated and expensive to investigate this kind of crime, but they aren’t going to stop.

What’s so important to realise is that the taxman really isn’t the bad guy in this little crime drama. HMRC won’t ever try to cheat you out of your own money. At the same time, though, they expect you to play just as fairly with them as they do with you. Everyone makes mistakes, and even the taxman realises this. An honest error can usually be fixed if you catch it soon enough and deal squarely with HMRC about it. That’s why RIFT works so hard on maintaining its spotless relationship with them. When you’ve got RIFT working on your tax refund claim or Self Assessment tax return, you’ve got the sharpest eyes and cleanest hands in the tax business working for you. We’ll protect you, and we’ll protect your money. Going toe-to-toe with the taxman is about getting back what’s yours – not one penny less or more. Talk to RIFT about staying safely in HMRC’s good books.

With RIFT you're in safe hands when it comes to claiming tax back.  We've been in the business of claiming tax rebates and filing tax returns since 1999. We know HMRC rules like the back of our hand.  Don't worry about trying to figure these out for yourself when we're at hand to help.