How Selfies Catch Tax Cheats

Tax cheats are getting caught out through boasting on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, accountancy expert Stuart Haigh warned this week.

Stuart a director of Whitley Stimpson, one of the largest independent accountancy and business advisers in the area with offices in Bicester, Banbury and High Wycombe, said: “Firstly, individuals and companies should not be trying to mislead the tax authorities.

“Secondly, there is generally no need to do so. Apart from the fact that it is against the law there is plenty of advice through companies such as ours that know how to minimise tax payments and to take advantage of relief schemes.

“Social media is a powerful method of communication and it works both ways.  Those who boast about their expensive holidays or high lifestyle are being tracked by the tax man and insurance companies to look at fraudulent claims.”

News that social media is being used by tax authorities, insurance companies and banks to profile customers is causing some concern, but the reality is that through a new tool called “Connect” people who have underpaid taxes are being flagged up.

“If someone has paid a suspiciously low sum of tax and then is splashed all over Facebook or Twitter living the highlife the tax officers will be investigating in a flash,” warned Stuart.

Tax dodgers who lie to HMRC during an investigation face paying penalties of 100 per cent of the tax due – double the original sum they were meant to pay.

Stuart Haigh can be contacted on 01869 252151 or by email at stuarth@whitleystimpson.co.uk