A probe into strippers’ and escort agencies’ taxes has been launched today (Friday, December 4) following a Bexhill madam’s near £1million fraud.
Adult club owners and entertainers in the South East who don’t pay their taxes are being targeted by a new UK-wide HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) taskforce.
This comes after Janine Adeleke was jailed for three years on November 13, after being found guilty of hiding £650,000 of income from her escort agency Carlton’s of London while claiming more than £300,000 in benefits.
Head of HMRC taskforces Jim Stevenson said: “Large numbers of people working in this industry are paying the tax they owe and they don’t have anything to worry about.
“The people being targeted by this taskforce have no intention of playing by the rules, and we won’t tolerate this.
“No industry is safe where tax evasion is concerned – we won’t stop tracking people down and taking back what they owe.”
HMRC claim the rise of the internet has caused a drastic increase in online escort agencies and it estimated in 2010 that the adult entertainment industry could be worth up to £5billion.
Adeleke’s agency made £1.5million from 2006 which the 43-year-old used to fund a ‘lavish’ lifestyle of expensive cars, holidays and private education for her five children.
All while claiming income support, carer’s allowance, tax credits and council tax support worth £317,000 and laundered £157,000 in her business.
For the first time in this sector, the taskforce will target the traders and entertainers, some of whom earn thousands of pounds a day, working in this industry.
Those who continue to operate in the hidden economy and do not register with HMRC for VAT, income tax and PAYE are being targeted.
More than 140 taskforces have been launched since 2011 collecting more than £404million that goes towards funding vital public services.
This includes £109 million brought in during the first six months of this financial year.
If you know someone who is dodging tax you can tell HMRC by calling the Customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.
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