Sparks will fly as taxman strikes

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TAX dodging electricians are the latest traders to be targeted by HM Revenue and Customs.

Letters are going out this month under the Electricians Tax Safe Plan to more than 50,000 sparks to remind them to pay their dues.

Marian Wilson, head of HMRC Campaigns, said: ”I urge tradespeople in this group who think they owe tax on their income to get in touch and get their tax affairs in order, simply and on the best terms.

”We do not think everyone who receives a letter owes us tax. However, if you owe tax and don’t get a letter, do not assume that HMRC will not catch up with you.”

The tax authorities have used sources, including online advertising, industry bodies, trade directories, professional ‘electrical safety’ certificates, trade suppliers and tax records to target those who should come forward and use the Electricians Tax Safe Plan.

A similar campaign against tax dodging plumbers led to 10 arrests and thousands of investigations.

Under the tax safe plan electricians can come forward at any time between now and May 15 to tell HMRC they want to take part.

Once they come forward, they have until August 14 to make their disclosure and arrange for payment. If they make a full disclosure, most face a penalty rate of only 10 per cent, with a maximum of 20 per cent.

Normally, up to 100 per cent of the tax owed can be charged to those who fall outside of such opportunities.

The Electricians Tax Safe Plan is aimed at anyone who installs, maintains and tests electrical systems, equipment and appliances – and covers any tax owed, for whatever reason. This includes people who make mistakes in the amount of tax they pay – even though they have taken reasonable care; those who are careless; or those who deliberately don’t tell HMRC about something they should have paid tax on.

After May 15 HMRC says it will investigate those who have failed to come forward. Substantial penalties or even criminal prosecution could follow.

Visit www.hmrc.gov.uk/campaigns/notify or phone 0845 601 504.

l The taxman has sent out 850,000 penalties of £100 to people who failed to send in 2010/11 Self Assessment returns on time, that is 550,000 fewer than last year.

HMRC’s Stephen Banyard said: “People who receive a penalty notice should act now to avoid further penalties. They should send in their return, appeal if they think they have a reasonable excuse, or contact us if they think they shouldn’t have been in Self Assessment.”

Visit www.hmrc.gov.uk/latetaxreturn