Following the launch of the Plumbers Tax Safe Plan (PTSP) (H&V News 9 March, p10), HM Revenue & Customs is stepping up its efforts.
Letters are being sent to around 50,000 gas fitters, heating engineers and plumbers by HMRC alerting them of the approaching deadline to declare income.
The letter states that once the opportunity expires on 31 May, the tax authorities will begin a clampdown on those who fail to declare earnings.
Under the tax plan, those who owe tax that they have not yet declared can tell HMRC they want to take part anytime before the deadline.
Those making a full disclosure mostly face a low penalty rate of 10 per cent, with a maximum of 20 per cent. Once they come forward, they have until 31 August to arrange payment.
After that date, using information from various sources, HMRC will investigate those who have failed to come forward. Substantial penalties or even criminal prosecution could follow, it said.
The PTSP is the first initiative in a campaign focused on tradespeople, which is designed to make it easy for those in the industry to put their tax affairs in order.
HMRC director of risk and intelligence Mike Wells said: “Our aim is to make it easy for plumbers to contact us, make a full disclosure of income and face a reduced penalty.
“We are using a variety of intelligence sources to target plumbers who have not declared their full income and I urge tradespeople who think they owe tax to get in touch with HMRC and get their tax affairs in order simply and on the best available terms.
“We do not think everyone who receives a letter owes us tax. However, if you owe tax and don’t get a letter, don’t assume that HMRC will not catch up with you.”