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Solicitors targeted in new tax clampdown

Press Release   •   Dec 08, 2014 10:11 GMT

Solicitors are being given the chance by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to bring their tax affairs up to date or face tougher penalties, as part of a new tax campaign.

The Solicitors’ Tax Campaign is the latest voluntary, intelligence-led disclosure opportunity giving specific groups of taxpayers the chance to get their tax affairs in order on the best terms available.

Previous campaigns have included medical professionals, plumbers, tutors and coaches, electricians, online traders, landlords and health professionals. This approach has so far raised almost £1 billion from voluntary disclosures and follow-up activity by HMRC.

Solicitors have until 9 March 2015 to tell HMRC that they would like to take part in the campaign, and until 9 June 2015 to disclose the tax they owe and pay it.

By using this campaign to come forward voluntarily, any penalties they might have to pay will be lower than if HMRC has to approach them first.

Caroline Addison, Head of Campaigns, HMRC, said:

“Information gathered by HMRC has allowed us to identify solicitors who thought they could operate without declaring income and paying the taxes that others have to pay.

“If you have not declared all of your income, you need to put your tax affairs in order. Take this chance to come forward and put things right in a straightforward way and on the best possible terms. It will be easier and cheaper for you to come to us than for us to come to you.

“Those who make a deliberate decision not to pay the taxes due could face a penalty of 100% or more of the tax due, or even a criminal prosecution.”

Solicitors can take part in the Solicitors’ Tax Campaign by:

  • Telling HMRC they want to take part in the campaign by 9 March 2015
  • Disclosing details and paying what they owe by 9 June 2015

For more details, plus help and support on the campaign, solicitors can phone a dedicated helpline on 0300 013 4749 or visit www.gov.uk/solicitors-tax-campaign online.

Notes for editors

1.  Solicitors who make a full disclosure of tax owed:

  • will be offered a simple and straightforward way to put their tax affairs right, and
  • will avoid paying a higher penalty. The penalty would normally be between 0% and 20%, depending on circumstances. Solicitors who do not come forward but are found to have unpaid tax liabilities will face higher penalties, rising to 100% of the tax unpaid or, possibly, criminal investigation. Penalties for offshore-related income can be up to 200%.

2.  Online tools are available to help solicitors work out how much they owe:

www.hmrc.gov.uk/campaigns/5years-calc.pdf

www.hmrc.gov.uk/campaigns/19years-calc.pdf

3.  Campaigns have raised almost £1 billion from voluntary disclosures and other follow up activity. So far they have targeted offshore investments, medical professionals, plumbers, VAT defaulters, coaches and tutors, electricians, online traders, landlords and health professionals. A number of criminal investigations are underway and eight people have been convicted of Cheating the Public Revenue.

4.  Further information on HMRC campaigns:

www.gov.uk/government/policies/reducing-tax-evasion-and-avoidance/supporting-pages/hmrc-campaigns

5.  People who have undeclared tax can watch an HMRC YouTube video to understand their obligations and what they need to do:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP6xMaiiYw4

6.  Anyone who would like to disclose unpaid tax to HMRC can call the Campaign Voluntary Disclosure helpline on 0300 123 1077.

7.  Follow HMRC’s press office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice

8.  HMRC’s flickr channel www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk

Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.

HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.