HMRC experience rush of solicitors declaring income as campaign begins

18 March, 2015

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have said that they have had a high volume of responses from members of the legal profession in regards to the Solicitor Tax Campaign, as the deadline to join the initiative passes.

The campaign is the latest of HMRC’s voluntary intelligence-led disclosure opportunity’s, which to date have raised around £1bn from targeting a range of professions and sectors, including dentists, doctors, electricians, eBay traders and plumbers.

Solicitors were given until 9 March 2015 to inform HMRC that they would like to take part in the campaign, and now have until 9 June 2015 to disclose the tax they owe and pay it. By voluntarily declaring unpaid income and tax, solicitors who have signed up to the campaign will avoid harsher penalties of up to 100 per cent of the tax owed.

HMRC have said that the penalties will be decided by solicitors’ reasons for failing to disclose income. Cases where information has been deliberately kept from HMRC will result in a higher penalty compared to cases where a simple mistake has been made.

It is still unclear how many people have signed up to the scheme already, but HMRC have said they experienced a sudden high volume rush towards the end of the disclosure period. HMRC will review the tax affairs of those customers it believes should have, but did not, come forward, identifying them by comparing the information already in its possession with customers’ UK tax histories.

Those who have decided not to take part in the campaign and who have undeclared income, have been warned that if they are found to have unpaid tax, they could be “named and shamed” and face a penalty of 100 per cent or more of the tax due or in more serious cases, a criminal prosecution.

If you have signed up for the campaign and would like assistance managing your tax affairs before the 9 June deadline our team of tax experts at Watson Buckle can help. We can also help if you have not signed up for the campaign and are worried that you may be targeted by HMRC investigations. For more information about our range of services for solicitors, please contact us.