Confusion over “general” amnesty

THERE IS CONFUSION as to whether the amnesty announced today covers just plumbers or constitutes a general amnesty.

The agreement, revealed by Accountancy Age, offers penalties of 10% for unpaid tax over the past five years for anyone in the plumbing or associated trades. However, experts have pointed out that this agreement offers “very similar terms” to anyone who wants to make a full disclosure.

John Cassidy, tax investigation and dispute resolution partner at PKF,
said: “The taxman has offered specific tax amnesties in the past but, despite its name, the way this one is worded seems very wide: it offers ‘very similar terms’ to anyone who wants to make a full tax disclosure, whether they use the standard plumbers tax safe plan (PTSP) forms or not.”

He added that this seems close to offering a “general amnesty by the back door”.

However, HMRC has denied these claims. A spokesman told Accountancy Age told that the way the PTSP forms are constituted mean that only plumbers and associated professionals could fill them in.

He added that HMRC encourages other people to come forward and they will get preferential treatment if they do so. However, this is always the case and the taxman could not guarantee the same rates as plumbers will receive.

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