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Tax clampdown: builders next on HMRC hitlist after electricians

Builders who have not paid their tax will be targeted in a campaign by revenue and customs later this year.

HMRC said it will give tradespeople working in the home improvement market a chance to come forward, declare unpaid tax and face reduced penalties in return.

It will build on campaigns aimed at plumbers and electricians - the latter of which is launched today - and will include several 100,000 tradespeople in construction and building work such as roofing, window fitting, bricklaying, carpentry and joinery.

Construction News revealed last summer that tax investigators were planning to search through builders’ merchants books to find tax dodgers.

Marian Wilson, of HMRC’s risk and intelligence team, said: “We are offering all the people targeted the opportunity to come forward. Penalties will be higher if we come and find people after the opportunity. A criminal investigation may also result. I therefore urge them to disclose unpaid tax voluntarily.”

The Electricians Tax Safe Plan launched today and will see letters go out to 50,000 people who install, maintain and test electrical systems, equipment and appliances.

It covers any tax owed and includes people who make mistakes in the amount of tax they pay – even though they have taken reasonable care, those who are careless, or those who deliberately do not tell HMRC about something they should have paid tax on.

Electricians can come forward any time between 14 February and 15 May to tell HMRC they want to take part. Once they come forward, they have until 14 August to make their disclosure and arrange for payment. If they make a full disclosure, most face a penalty rate of only 10 per cent, with a maximum of 20 per cent.

HMRC said it is getting information from a wide range of sources, including online advertising, industry bodies, trade directories, professional ‘electrical safety’ certificates, trade suppliers and tax records. It says it uses sophisticated software to target those who should come forward and use the Electricians Tax Safe Plan.

Click here to got to the appropriate HMRC tax page or call HMRC on 0845 601 5041.

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