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HMRC flag deadline for plumbers’ disclosure facility that is ‘open to anyone’

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HMRC are set to write to ‘about 50,000’ plumbers, gas fitters and heating engineers alerting them to the Plumbers’ Tax Safe Plan (PTSP) – the first initiative in a ‘campaign focused on tradespeople’ – which offers people making a full disclosure of undeclared income a ‘simple and straightforward way to put their tax affairs right’ and a low penalty rate.

‘Plumbers, gas fitters, heating engineers and members of associated trades who owe tax which they have not yet declared can come forward any time up to 31 May to tell HMRC they want to take part,’ HMRC said yesterday.

But as Tax Journal reported on 1 March, other taxpayers who approach HMRC voluntarily can expect broadly the same terms as those on offer through the PTSP.

‘From the small print of HMRC's offer it is clear that it is not just for plumbers,’ said Robin Williamson, Technical Director of the CIOT’s Low Incomes Tax Reform Group. ‘Anyone approaching HMRC voluntarily should expect to get a similar deal; but the threat to plumbers is rather greater as HMRC have spent the last year or so scouring through the internet and local papers for evidence of plumber activity,’ he added, writing in Tax Journal on 11 March.

HMRC’s letter will confirm that once the disclosure opportunity expires, the department will ‘begin a clampdown on those working in the sector who have failed to declare earnings and pay the tax they owe’.

Those who do come forward by 31 May will have until 31 August to make their disclosure and arrange for payment. ‘After that date, using information pulled together from different sources, HMRC will investigate those who have failed to come forward. Substantial penalties or even criminal prosecution could follow,’ HMRC said.

Guidance is provided on the HMRC website.