HM Revenue and Customs are now targeting solicitors in a bid to crack down on non-payment of tax.
Solicitors are being given the option to take part in a voluntary tax disclosure scheme but must do so by March 2015. Any tax owed would need to be paid by June 2015.
HMRC say that those who wish to take part will be given a number of guarantees, one of which being the ability to spread payments out rather than paying a lump sum.
If the taxpayer has made an error with their tax, they will only pay for a maximum of six years regardless of how far behind they are with their tax affairs. However, if they choose not to come forward and HMRC find out that tax hasn’t been paid, they have the power to go back 20 years in serious cases and can also carry out a criminal investigation, which of course has further repercussions.
Gary Clarkson a tax specialist for the national law firm, Irwin Mitchell said “HMRC’s decision to target a certain profession is usually based on their own internal data gathering. Their systems are very sophisticated nowadays and with tough tax collection targets to meet, I think it’s very likely that it will soon be taking a hard-line approach to solicitors who it believes are not declaring their tax accurately.
“It is important that solicitors who are in any doubt about their tax affairs consider this scheme and seek advice where needed. There is a limited timeframe to notify HMRC and as always, opening up a dialogue with the authorities early is always looked at far more favourably by HMRC than taking no action at all.”
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