Buy to let landlords in London, East Anglia and South Wales are among the targets of two new HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) task forces looking for tax dodgers.
The teams of investigators are seeking property owners and other business people who appear to be living beyond the means reported in their tax returns.
They are also checking for taxpayers with undeclared income from offshore bank accounts.
The taskforces are expected to recover around £2.5 million in ‘lost’ tax from cash businesses secreting their income.
Tax inspectors are also cross-referencing Land Registry records, council housing benefit payments and electoral rolls to identify property owners with rental properties for which they have not declared rents or capital gains.
David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said: “The people being targeted by this taskforce have no intention of playing by the rules. This Government has made it clear that we will not tolerate tax evasion and we have provided HMRC with the resources to crack down on those who break the law.”
HMRC taskforces have retrieved more than £130 million since 2011.
HMRC’s Jennie Granger, Director General of Enforcement and Compliance, said: “HMRC taskforces are deployed in sectors and areas where we’ve detected a high risk of tax evasion. If you haven’t declared all your income we will find you and investigate. Not only could you face a heavy fine, but a criminal prosecution as well.”
Other taskforces are in the pipeline to tackle tax cheats running restaurants in London and East Anglia and building businesses in the Midlands.
Landlords with undeclared income and capital gains can put their tax affairs straight with the Let Property Campaign currently running with HMRC.
Property owners have to pledge to come clean with HMRC and pay outstanding tax in return for a discount on non-filing fees and penalties.