The region’s Federation of Small Businesses has called for a soft-handed approach after a holiday task force targeted tax dodgers in Blackpool.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) staff descended on the town last week and visited corner shops, hoteliers and independent sellers, recovering more than £20,000 in untaxed goods.
But the federation’s regional chairman for Lancashire and Cumbria, Gary Lovatt, has called for clarification in why HMRC was targeting the resort’s holiday industry.
He said: “Our request with this taskforce is that it is not overly heavy-handed in its approach, we have already heard from members who have been visited who are not happy with the way they have been approached. HMRC should be looking to ensure that all businesses pay the correct amount of tax. Our members receive free taxation support with their membership and we will be on-hand to help them to ensure they pay the correct amount of tax, not a penny more or less.”
A HMRC spokeswoman said: “Those involved in the holiday trade shouldn’t think we are focussing solely on them. Taskforces look at specific, varied industries such as plumbers, restaurants and the motor trade. Honest businesses who want to meet their obligations have nothing to fear, we are targeting those who deliberately evade paying the tax that is due.”