HMRC to target Solicitors
This morning HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”) have launched a new initiative, the “Solicitors’ Tax Campaign” (“the Campaign”), aimed at solicitors who they believe have not declared all their income or capital gains to HMRC.
The Campaign, which is intelligence led, is aimed specifically at solicitors. Previous campaigns have targeted medics, plumbers, tutors, online traders and landlords and, according to HMRC, have raised nearly £1 billion in additional tax. Targets will be chosen using HMRC’s Connect software which analyses data obtained from the Land Registry, Companies House, banks, credit card providers, voting and council tax registers, in addition to records already held by HMRC.
Terms & Requirements
The purpose of the campaign is to encourage solicitors to come forward voluntarily to bring their tax affairs up to date if they need to. In return they will benefit from lower penalties than they would otherwise pay if HMRC had to approach them first.
Those wishing to ‘take part’ in the campaign need to advise HMRC by 9 March 2015. Any tax liability must be fully disclosed and paid by 9 June 2015.
Failure to take part may lead HMRC to estimate any tax due and use their powers to seek payment through demands, personal visits and ultimately through the courts. HMRC may then seek tax geared penalties of up to 100% of the tax due if advantage has not been taken of this opportunity.
Under ‘discovery’ provisions, HMRC can use new information to assess tax up to 20 years previously. Taxpayers could face higher penalties or criminal prosecution if they fail to come forward voluntarily.
Solicitors should review their returns for any items they may have overlooked. For further information or advice in connection with this, please contact our Tax Director, Jenny Marks.