Plumbers offered tax amnesty

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A new tax “amnesty” for plumbers has been launched by Revenue & Customs, amid warnings that it will target tradesmen with undeclared earnings who fail to come forward.

The deal, which can potentially be used by anyone with undeclared liabilities, is the latest in a string of voluntary disclosure regimes which the Revenue believes are a cost-effective means of bringing in extra revenues.

A similar initiative last year was aimed at doctors and dentists in which one in 20 of the 30,000 medical professionals suspected of undisclosed tax liabilities, came forward.

The “Plumbers Tax Safe Plan” will offer a penalty rate of 10 per cent of the tax due in most cases, which is a 10th of the maximum – although in certain circumstances there will be a 20 per cent or zero penalty. Taxpayers from other sectors “can expect very similar terms”.

The Revenue warned that after the deadline for the scheme expired at the end of May, it expected it would be able to track down tradesmen who should have come forward using data from the Corgi and Gas Safe registers and from internet research.

It urged taxpayers from other sectors to take up the opportunity. “If there has not yet been one that you qualify for, you should not wait to disclose. There is no guarantee that there will be a scheme in the future that suits you.”

Gary Ashford, of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, said the terms of the deal were good, but not as favourable as those available for offshore assets under the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility.

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