Since 1st March 2011, HMRC have announced a new campaign concentrating on trades’ people and in particular plumbers, gas fitters and heating engineers. They have recently put into place their Plumber Tax Safe Plan, in the hope that many of these trades people will come forward to tell the HMRC about any tax they feel they may owe for which they have a burning desire to pay for. As one would assume, there are generally not many people who fancy paying for anything if they don’t have to, so it begs the question ‘why bother?’. To encourage plumbers to put down their wrenches from unblocking lavatories and come clean(!), HMRC are offering a low penalty of 10% for full disclosure and a maximum of 20%, which compared to the possible prompted deliberate understatement with concealment of 100% penalty, and the added threat of criminal prosecution, does seem quite desirable.
With this in mind about 50,000 plumbers, gas fitters and heating engineers will have received letters from HMRC alerting them to the chance to take advantage of this special time-limited tax plan to put right any gaps that might exist in their tax affairs.
The letter will explain that, once the opportunity expires, the tax authorities will begin a clampdown on those working in the sector who failed to declare earnings and pay the tax they owe.
HMRC has used legal notices and new technology to gather and analyse data from industry bodies, tax records, advertising directories and health and safety prosecutions.
From the perspective of HMRC, so far, more than £500m has been raised by HMRC from voluntary disclosures and a further £100m from follow-up activity.
Mike Wells, HMRC's Director of Risk and Intelligence, said: “We want to make sure HMRC listens to as many informed views as possible for our future campaigns. We want the views and experience of people and organisations outside the department to play a fuller part in the campaigns that we design for customers.
By being open about our areas of interest for the coming year we hope to maximise that exchange of information and ensure we reduce the tax gap and help customers pay what they owe.
We will use the information we gather to pursue people who choose not to use the opportunities we provide for them to put their affairs in order on the best possible terms. It will be more expensive if we come and find people, so I urge them to come forward and disclose voluntarily.”
In order to use the facility taxpayers must have registered with HMRC to ‘notify’ that they plan to make a voluntary tax disclosure by 31st May 2011 and they then have until 31st August 2011 to tell HMRC about tax due and make arrangements to pay any tax interest and penalties due. Disclosures can be made online or via a dedicated team ready and willing to take their call to unburden them of sleepless nights!
By now anyone wanting to register their intent to use the facility will have done so as the deadline was, as previously mentioned, 31st May 2011, and those people will no doubt be busy compiling their information ready for payment by 31st August 2011.
For those who missed the boat for registering but have since decided to come forward, the Revenue have suggested that, they will be given similar favourable terms to those of the disclosure facility.
If you would like to discuss this further please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our Tax Advice Line on (01455) 852555.
HMRC Clamp Down
September 02 2011