Financial secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison has set out the work HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is doing to tackle landfill tax fraud.
Responding to a series of written questions from Labour MP Kevan Jones, Ellison said HMRC had issued 51 landfill tax assessments in the past five years totalling £94.3m, including 37 civil penalties amounting to £2.2m.
Since April 2015, the department had started 78 compliance interventions with landfill site operators and visited 28 landfill sites in the past year.
The waste sector taskforce investigated 250 businesses in 2015-16, with a further 179 firms targeted so far in 2016-17.
“HMRC takes a risk-based approach to tackling all non-compliance, including those relating to landfill tax fraud,” Ellison said.
“This means that it does not routinely allocate compliance budgets for individual taxes, but instead responds flexibly with civil and criminal investigations based on the risks involved.”
In September 2015, 14 people were arrested as a result of a multi-agency operation into landfill tax fraud. Ellison said that investigation was ongoing.
Last October, HMRC estimated the gap between expected and actual landfill tax revenue in 2014-15 to be £150m and, at 12%, is one of the Treasury’s biggest tax gaps.