Doctors Tax Amnesty triggers tax evasion investigations

Over 1,000 doctors and dentists are under tax investigation by HMRC for suspected tax evasion after HMRC’s doctors’ tax amnesty uncovers widespread abuse.

In January 2010 the Inland Revenue announced the launch of their Doctors Tax Amnesty campaign entitled the ‘Tax Health Plan’ aimed at any medical profession, also a member of the General Medical Council, due to HMRC concerns that: “some medical professionals may be understating the amount of earnings upon which UK tax and duties are due”.

The doctors’ tax amnesty closed in September 2010 and Treasury figures have shown that £13.1m has been collected by the Inland Revenue from over 2,000 medical staff since HMRC introduced the ‘Tax Health Plan’.

HMRC’s doctors’ tax amnesty brought to light complex schemes used by some medical professionals to evade tax, including insuranceTax Evasion | Doctors and Dentists targeted by HMRC company payments and off-shore accounts. Doctors and dentists who did not take up HMRC’s Tax Health Plan opportunity could now find themselves caught out by the taxman – should they have committed tax evasion – with higher HMRC tax penalties and possible public naming and shaming; would have been avoided had they made a voluntary disclosure during the Inland Revenue’s doctors tax amnesty.

The Times has reported that an alleged 1,300 tax investigations are currently ongoing into the tax affairs of doctors and dentists suspected of tax evasion. Whilst many medical staff has made a voluntary disclosure of possible evaded taxes to the Inland Revenue, allegedly tax evasion investigations are being considered in 700 medical staff cases thought to involve tax evasion of £1.3m; So far, one doctor is reported to have paid back over £1m to HMRC whilst a dentist is said to paid over £300,000.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said on the doctors’ tax amnesty findings: “I think the public would be as dismayed to hear some doctors are evading tax as they were to learn they had appointments cancelled yesterday because doctors don’t think a £43,000 a year pension is enough.”

Latest figures show that on average privately employed and NHS dentists earn £128,000 per year with allegedly over 300 dentists who are paid more than £300,000 annually. A spokesperson for HMRC said: “HMRC campaigns ensure that those that have not paid tax – intentionally or otherwise – can come forward, pay what is due, and get their tax affairs on the correct footing in future.”

What happens if medical staff with undeclared earnings did not make a voluntary disclosure through HMRC’s Doctor’s Tax Amnesty?

It’s not too late. Rather than waiting for HMRC to find you or launch a tax investigation under suspicion of tax evasion, it is best to come forward voluntarily to make a full disclosure to the Inland Revenue. But first, get expert advice from a tax professional that can talk you through the steps and make your voluntary disclosure for you.

The government and HMRC have stepped up their criminal investigations into targeted ‘high risk’ sectors in the crackdown on tax evasion, tax avoidance and tax fraud. Information on big businesses and UK celebrities’ using tax avoidance loopholes are being publicised in the national news more than ever before, as the Inland Revenue send out the message that no-one is safe from the taxman; Don’t be their next target.

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