Chancellor Rishi Sunak used the 2021 Budget to announce an investment of more than £100 million into a HMRC taskforce designed to combat coronavirus (COVID-19)-related fraud.
The new Taxpayer Protection Taskforce will seek to crack down on criminals who attempt to fraudulently claim money via government COVID-19 financial support schemes.
The taskforce will combat fraud in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). HMRC also intends to raise awareness of enforcement action in order to deter fraud and will ‘significantly strengthen’ law enforcement for Bounce Back loans.
Announcing the new taskforce, the Chancellor said in his Budget speech: ‘We’ll also tackle fraud in our COVID schemes, with £100 million to set up a new HMRC taskforce of around 1,000 investigators, as well as new measures and new investment in HMRC to clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion.’