A taskforce tackling wealthy tax evaders in Scotland who are living beyond their means was launched today by HM Revenue & Customs.

HMRC is identifying individuals with "badges of wealth" such as large houses, investments, aeroplanes, boats and undeclared offshore bank accounts which are not in keeping with the information they report to HMRC.

Taskforces bring together various HMRC compliance and enforcement teams for intensive bursts of activity targeted at specific sectors and locations where there is evidence of high risk of tax evasion and fraud, in order to identify wealth indicators and cross reference them with the data HMRC holds about their owners. This latest exercise is expected to recover nearly £4.5m.

Michael Connolly, HMRC taskforce lead in Scotland, said the campaign would target people whose lifestyle does not reflect the tax they are paying. “HMRC’s intelligence shows that people being targeted by this taskforce have no intention of playing by the rules", he commented. "They are deliberately failing to declare all their income to HMRC in a crude attempt to line their own pockets, and they will be investigated.

“As a result of this behaviour, they could end up facing a heavy fine or even a criminal conviction. Those who pay the tax they are supposed to have nothing to worry about."

HMRC instances Garry Gibson, an Edinburgh building boss, who earlier this year was electronically tagged for eight months and ordered to repay money after an HMRC investigation found he had defrauded £220,000.