Contact us before we contact you, says the tax man

Published:  04 March, 2011

Plumbers, gas fitters and heating engineers are being targeted by the tax authorities in a clampdown on tradespeople failing to declare their earnings and pay tax.

Plumbers, gas fitters and heating engineers are being targeted by the tax authorities in a clampdown on tradespeople failing to declare their earnings and pay tax.

Under the tax plan, plumbers, gas fitters, heating engineers and members of associated trades who have tax to pay which they have not yet told HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about can come forward by 31 May to tell the department of their intention to disclose what they owe. If they make a full disclosure, most face a low penalty rate of 10% with a maximum of 20%

They have until 31 August to make their disclosure and arrange for payment to be made. After that date, using information pulled together from various sources, HMRC will carry out targeted investigations aimed at those who have failed to come forward and make a full declaration. Substantial penalties or even criminal prosecution could follow.

The plumbers’ tax safe plan (PTSP) is the first initiative in a campaign focused on tradespeople. It is designed to make it easy for those in the plumbing industry to put their tax affairs right and keep them that way.

Mike Wells, HMRC's director of risk and intelligence, said: “Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for plumbers to come forward, make a full disclosure and benefit from a reduced penalty.

“We will be using various intelligence sources to target plumbers who have not declared their full income. I strongly urge any in this group who think they may owe tax on their income to get in touch with HMRC and get their tax affairs in order simply and on the best available terms.

“This is the first step in enabling those with undisclosed income or gains to avoid a full tax investigation with much higher penalties. The message is clear: contact us before we contact you.”

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