HMRC unleash ‘Connect’ computer to target tax evaders

HMRC’s powerful new “Connect” system is about to be unleashed on the general public zeroing in on anyone who may have failed to declare income they should be paying tax on.

With the deadline of the 31st January rapidly approaching, HMRC probably already know if you’ve been selling on eBay, renting your room out with Airbnb and even if you’ve been paid interest by your bank or building society.

Having invested millions in Connect, HMRC have been collecting information from Government departments, financial institutions (including traditional banks and peer to peer lending systems) as well as scanning eBay, Etsy and Amazon to see who’s trading there.

HMRC’s Connect is even scanning Land Registry records to see how much people are paying for property. If it appears unlikely that you could afford to pay for your house based on the income you declare than that alone would be enough to set alarm bells ringing and questions to be asked. Likewise HMRC can see anonymised information on Visa and Mastercard payments so they’ll have a rough idea if you’re spending way beyond the income you’re supposed to have.

It’s worth noting that the previous Chancellor George Osborne put in a provision to enable consumers to make £1000 profit selling on marketplaces before they had to declare themselves as a business and another £1000 renting out their spare bedroom. This allowance doesn’t kick in until the new tax year starts in April 2017 though, so any earnings up until now should be declared and tax paid.

Not a lot will happen for the next three weeks until the 31st January filing deadline passes, but after then expect to hear of letters from HMRC dropping onto doormats across the country.

If you think that you owe more tax than you’ve currently declared it’s not too late to act, you can still file your earnings before the 31st of January and pay any tax owing to avoid the possibility of fines or worse.

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lol whos going to administer and process all the dodgers how will the courts and prisons cope with the influx its like saying your going to prosecute every driver that breaks the speed limit and no business on the planet pays all the tax they think they owe

Ken Dodd • 9th January 2017 •

Really ? a Post on tax Evasion and the first reply is from Ken Dodd! Should. Too Funny

Jimmy Carr • 9th January 2017 •

Does anyone even thing this new computer detection system is true? Surely just a PR ruse? Giddy up!

Lester Piggott • 9th January 2017 •

Yes, the 'Connect' department is located next to the TV detector van department.

Gary Barlow • 10th January 2017 •

It is no wonder people in the UK dodge taxes, they are everywhere and small businesses get nothing for their hard work. 20% TAX, 20%VAT, TV licence TAX, High car TAX, High fuel TAX,and many more. When will somebody see sense? I will never pay what they want until it is a reasonable amount, below 10% like most other countries. So Government, get over yourselves and get real.

Karl • 24th January 2017 •

Shame it can only catch UK dodgers. How about the chinese/HK ones we have all been banging on about for the last 5 years ?

ifellow • 9th January 2017 •

haha. love the comments.

Whirly • 10th January 2017 •

Sounds like another scaremongering tactic in the hopes that some people will 'offer up' their income and report it to avoid being penalised. I doubt anyone renting a room out or selling the odd bits on eBay as a side-line is going to be contacted by HMRC

sam • 10th January 2017 •

This 'story' is trotted out by HMRC on a regular basis, new sophisticated software is being rolled out to catch tax dodgers. All in the hope of scaring people into becoming honest for fear they'll get caught out.

Joe • 10th January 2017 •

Is this the same connect computer from 2008 ?

glenn • 10th January 2017 •

They can’t collect legal taxes from illegal money.

Al Capone • 10th January 2017 •

Jimmy Carr ....PMSL

Drew Peacock • 10th January 2017 •

The rich are different when it comes to paying taxes: They hide more of their income.

Al Capone • 10th January 2017 •

I wonder if my mask will help Ebay/amazon/starbucks/vodaphone/

Dick Turpin • 10th January 2017 •

i love the title UNLEASH , what is it a rottweiler ? more like a dog with no teeth , that sums up HMRC

glenn • 10th January 2017 •

I suspect that this program is mythical. HRMC already have all the tools they need to find evaders. Most evaders on eBay think that they can dodge HMRC by opening multiple eBay accounts believing that HMRC have to get the information from eBay itself. What evaders don't know is that HMRC can simply request every UK High St bank to send them a list of people who receive payments from Paypal, and HMRC could simply run the information through a spreadsheet to determine who is receiving more than, say, £2000 a year, and less than £10,000. (Anyone under £2K is probably private, and anybody over £10K is probably already registered as a business). HMRC probably don't disclose exactly HOW they can catch people, but prefer to frighten evaders with talk of a grandiose new computer program when the reality is actually much more mundane.

Paul • 10th January 2017 •

With a PayPal Mastercard you don't have to transfer anything to a bank account to access the loot

radroach • 11th January 2017 •

it definitely exists believe me!

MAGGIE • 11th January 2017 •

Can you explain please Maggie? What do you mean?

Steve • 11th January 2017 •

sorry wont go into any details but definitely exists

MAGGIE • 14th January 2017 •

Thought so :D

David • 14th January 2017 •

HMRC have got a lot of power - however they do have the power themselves to be able to tame it. After their last scaremongering tactic a few years back, I know a case where the guy was caught out for VAT evasion, but they did not use their claimed superpowers to catch the guy out but instead, they caught the guy when the bot from the VISA system alerted a few irregularities in the VAT returns in terms of how much revenue was declared and how much VAT was being zeroed on their marketplace fees....

Donald P • 14th January 2017 •

Hmrc are just trying to scare everyone to pay what HMRC say they owe. they will see you on ebay, amazon etc then check what you are paying and if your not they will send you a ridiculous bill for you to contest and they hope you will pay something better than nothing. Not sure what planet they are on. What are they going to do, send us all to prison where we get everything FREE and will cost them 500 per day to keep each one of us there.

Karl • 24th January 2017 •