HMRC opens door to general amnesty

HMRC’s new tax guidance to plumbers and gas fitters could open the door to a general amnesty for all UK residents.

Plumbers, gas fitters, heating engineers and members of associated trades are being encouraged to sign up to a new disclosure facility and pay outstanding tax liabilities.
HMRC is offering the carrot of a reduced penalty under the new Plumbers Tax Safe Plan (PTSP). However, it appears that what HMRC are calling a ‘clampdown’ is actually ‘in line with what HMRC offers for any full and accurate unprompted voluntary disclosure of tax liabilities’.

Leon Smith, Tax Manager at Jack Ross explains: “The HMRC announced a new disclosure opportunity this month, which on the surface appears to be targeted at plumbers and heating engineers.

“However, it seems that the disclosure opportunity, which comes with the possibility of reduced penalties, is actually available to all taxpayers because HMRC is saying that people who voluntarily come forward and put right their tax position can expect very similar terms to those on offer through PTSP.

“HMRC is offering reduced tax penalties of 0%, 10% & 20%. However, if it feels the behaviour leading to the disclosure has been ‘deliberate and concealed’ we understand the penalties may increase to a maximum of 100% of the additional tax arising from the disclosure.

“The other point to note is that any disclosure must also be made before 31st May 2011 with all tax being settled by 31st August.”

To find out more contact Leon Smith, Tax Manager at Jack Ross, leon.smith@jackross.co.uk