HMRC's latest targets: electricians, e-marketplace traders, missing tax returns, home improvements, direct selling

HMRC's latest targets: electricians, e-marketplace traders, missing tax returns, home improvements, direct selling


Author: Tom Wilde

HM Revenue ' Customs (HMRC) has announced the latest targets in its on-going campaigns against taxpayers who underpay tax.

New Campaign: Electricians

On 14 February 2012, HMRC launched the Electricians' Tax Safe Plan campaign, targeting electricians who have underpaid tax, in the same way that previous campaigns aimed at plumbers, health professionals, and private tutors have done.

Electricians who have not declared all their income to HMRC have until 15 May 2012 to notify the government body to tell them that they intend to take part in the campaign. This notification can be done by post, phone or online. Electricians then have until 14 August 2012 to make the formal disclosure and pay what is owed.

The incentive for coming forward is that the level of penalties due will be less (up to a maximum of 20% of the tax due) in comparison to what it would be if no disclosure is made and HMRC subsequently finds out that not enough tax has been paid (up to 100% of the tax due).

Any electricians who do not make a disclosure, particularly those whom HMRC is already suspicious of - can expect an increased level of scrutiny once the 14 August deadline passes.

Future Campaigns: E-marketplace traders, missing tax returns, home improvement, direct selling

HMRC has also announced the subject of future campaigns, although these have not yet been launched.

A campaign targeting those who trade online by buying and selling goods on e-marketplaces will start on 14 March 2012, with the notification period running until 14 June 2012, and disclosure and payment to be made by 14 September 2012.

In addition, HMRC has said that there will be a further three campaigns later in the year which will target the following:

  • those who fail to complete tax returns and are liable to pay tax at the highest rates
  • tradespeople working in the home improvement market - this will include those involved in construction and building work including roofing, window fitting, bricklaying, carpentry and joinery
  • direct selling - those who receive income from buying or selling goods direct to others, or are paid commission

Anyone who falls into any of the above categories and is concerned that they have underpaid tax should take immediate professional advice to decide whether to take advantage of these campaigns.

Equally, those who fall outside of these specific areas but want to take action now can contact HMRC on their Campaigns Voluntary Disclosure Helpline, as this may result in lower penalties.