Fraud in green neon light on bare brick wallHM Revenue & Customs has been accused of allowing £1.2bn worth of VAT to slip through their fingers in a fraud case spearheaded by online rogue traders. These rogue traders are usually foreign companies who store their products in the UK and sell them without VAT on internet marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay.

The accusation came to light following the confession of a senior HMRC official, who stated that despite knowing about the £1.2bn VAT fraud, his department failed to seize goods from these traders.

The founder of Retailers Against VAT Abuse Schemes (RAVAS), Richard Allen, has commented on the matter, pointing out that “HMRC has not made a single prosecution or seized goods when it has identified rogue operators.” When compared to other countries, such as Germany, the UK’s seemingly relaxed attitude to internet VAT fraud is worrying, with Allen saying that “HMRC’s behaviour can be seen as nothing other than going lenient on Amazon rogue traders.”

In 2016, legislation was implemented to force online marketplaces to remain vigilant, making them responsible for ensuring that companies selling their products to the UK are paying the right amount of VAT.

HMRC has supported this legislation and denied RAVAS’s claim that it has been too relaxed, stating: “the UK has led the way in holding online marketplaces jointly liable for VAT evaded overseas and in the UK by being the first country to bring in new powers to hold them to account.”

Being forearmed is being forewarned

As a business owner, it is crucial that you remain diligent and on the lookout for potential fraud entering your business. Don’t be naïve: corporate fraud can cripple your business. To help keep your mind at ease, Blackhawk’s financial fraud investigative team can work with you to find the source of the fraud and to limit the damage it can have on your business. We can also help you to put preventative measures in place, which can protect your business from fraudulent activity occurring in the future.

If you have a bad feeling about any of your employees being involved in fraudulent activity, act on your instincts and get in touch with us sooner rather than later. We can discreetly identify where the fraud is coming from and put a stop to it.

To ensure that you’re always on top of your game, you can also take advantage of our due diligence services. Due diligence is key to ensuring that you’re hiring someone you can trust and who has your business’ best interests at heart.

For more information on how Blackhawk can help your business with our efficient financial fraud investigations, call us today on 020 7788 8983.