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LANDLORDS and small business owners are getting away with evading tax because of government cuts to HMRC, a fringe meeting heard today during TUC women’s conference.
Smaller businesses are being overlooked because investigating them is more resource-intensive than using databases, said Lorna Merry, HMRC group president for civil servants’ union PCS.
Only 2.9 million out of 5.7m small businesses are registered as employers and for purposes of paying VAT, she added.
The vanishing of tax officers on the ground also means that landlords are getting away with not declaring their rental incomes, according to Ms Merry.
“These landlords are getting out of paying more in tax than what is collected through the government’s bedroom tax,” she said.
It takes local tax officers with local knowledge to be able to tackle evasion by businesses and landlords, she continued.
Instead, HMRC has been restructured into 13 regional “hubs,” with none in Scotland or south of Croydon.
Scotland’s fishing and oil industries as well as shipping imports are at risk of being missed, Ms Merry also said.
Cuts to HMRC mean fewer funds for services that women and families rely on, meeting chair Zita Holbourne, national vice-president of PCS, said.
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