Medics must declare tax or face prosecution

THE TAXMAN has warned doctors and dentists to come forward or risk facing criminal investigation, Accountancy Age has learnt.

HM Revenue & Customs will begin writing to doctors and dentists this week in the next stage of its Tax Health Plan, which was launched in 2008, offering attractive terms to put their tax affairs in order. The first wave of the initiative yielded around £10m, including £1m from a single doctor.

The 2,500 letters to be sent out this week vary according to the individual’s circumstances. They warn: “We know you have outstanding tax returns.” This is the taxpayer’s “final opportunity” to come forward, they add. “Your failure to contact us in the past may have been an oversight. However, if you do not respond to this letter, we will treat it as an active choice.”

The medics are given 21 days to responds. If they do not, they face “significant additional charges”. The letters add: “Alternatively, [HMRC] may refer your case to Criminal Investigations with a view to prosecution.”

Gary Ashford, director of tax investigations at RSM Tenon, said: “When the THP took place, only around 1,500 came forward. At the time of the campaign, HMRC said they had information on tens of thousands of names and addresses. The doctors and dentists may not have taken the information held by HMRC seriously.

“The letters are clearly hard-hitting. HMRC is standing by the data it has got. This is a key moment in terms of disclosure campaigns. This is HMRC’s opportunity to show the campaigns have teeth,” he added.

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