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Another plumber convicted by HMRC

Another successful prosecution for HMRC has seen a plumber from Hampshire handed a suspended 4 month jail sentence for failing to declare tax for over 14 years of over £90,000. This follows the conviction of a plumber from the Midlands in early March of evading around £100,000.

Both plumbers in question had evaded tax over a relatively long period of time and whilst the amount of tax evaded was comparatively small, the aggressive nature of these prosecutions confirms HMRC’s declared new approach of focussing on tackling behaviour, rather than simply looking at high value tax cases.

For some time, HMRC have been using amnesties as a means of encouraging individuals and businesses to get their tax affairs in order. The standard approach is to offer the amnesty to a specific trade or profession for a period of time, allowing low (or no) penalties for rectification. At the end of the amnesty, HMRC will concentrate specialist investigation teams on the industry concerned, with the objective of identifying any remaining defaulters.

Mike Wells, HMRC, director of risk and intelligence services said: "We want people targeted by any HMRC campaign to come forward and use the opportunity to put the record straight and pay any tax due on the best possible terms. It really is better for people who owe tax to come to HMRC, before we come and find you."

Given that HMRC have recovered over £500m in undeclared tax through the use of amnesty schemes, we expect this tactic to continue and to be expanded to other areas. Sectors which have seen, or are currently seeing, an amnesty include the medical profession, plumbers, electricians, coaches & tutors, and on-line traders.

If you are not correctly declaring income, you should consider getting your house in order now. If you are in one of the sectors mentioned above, we recommend taking immediate action to notify HMRC under the terms of the amnesty without delay.