Tax authorities close in on shooting industry cheats

Posted on the 27th April 2006

HM Revenue and Customs have announced that they are closing in on the shooting industry, as a result of evidence of 'tax irregularities occurring across the country'. The agency will be making unannounced visits to shoots looking for proof of malpractice, including failure to register for VAT and of commercial shoots posing as non profit-making clubs. The long-awaited initiative follows Animal Aid's lengthy presentation of evidence to the tax authorities that was based on our 2002 report called Feathering Their Nests.

For more than six years Animal Aid has warned the relevant authorities of the industry’s dubious financial arrangements. We have demonstrated that many bird producers are not paying rates, and that there are indications that very large shooting operations are trying to conceal the scale of their activities.

The Revenue’s new get tough strategy is spelled out in an open letter to land owners and representative shooting bodies . It goes on to list areas of concern:

  • Commercial shooting which has been misdescribed as private shooting, non-profit making club activity or the supply of zero-rated birds
  • Exchanging supplies of VATable shooting for zero-rated or other supplies by way of barter with neither transaction recorded in business records
  • Failures to register for VAT
  • Artificial separation of business activities to stay below VAT registration limits
  • Under recording of sales values
  • VAT and income tax irregularities on claims for private expenditure

Says Animal Aid Shooting Consultant, Kit Davidson:

‘We very much welcome this crackdown by the tax authorities on an industry that has already been exposed for its animal cruelty and exploitation. Less known is that it deprives the public purse of vast sums of money.’

  1. Feathering Their Nests
  2. HM Revenue & Customs letter dated April 2006

Notes to Editors

  • For further information contact: Andrew Tyler or Kit Davidson on 01732 364 546
  • ISDN line available for broadcast-quality interviews
  • For full background, see the pheasant campaign index

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