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Property people pay over millions in ‘lost’ tax

19 December 2014

Landlords, property investors and tradesmen have paid millions of pounds to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for failing to file accurate tax returns.

New figures from HMRC show that almost £1 billion in ‘lost’ tax has been recovered in campaigns inviting taxpayers to confess their financial mistakes.

This includes more than £16 million raised from compliance checks into tax paid on property sales and rental profits.

The Let Property Campaign, which offers a chance for landlords to put their financial affairs straight in return for a discount on penalties, is open until around Easter 2015.

Tradesmen, such as plumbers and electricians, mostly accepting cash and failing to declare their incomes have contributed another £37 million to HMRC coffers.

Several criminal tax evasion investigations are also underway resulting for information gathered during the campaigns. In eight cases, individuals convicted of tax evasion have received jail terms totalling more than 10 years.

“The campaigns offer incentives to taxpayers to come forward and self-correct their finances,” said an HMRC spokesman.

“For those who choose not to take the chance to set the record straight, we use the information gathered during the campaign to conduct follow-up work. This includes investigations and prosecutions.”

The main targets have been small businesses trading as consultants, contractors or freelancers and traders that handle a lot of cash payments.

To make a disclosure, taxpayers should contact the Campaigns Voluntary Disclosure Helpline on 0845 601 5041 between 8 am and 6.30 pm Monday to Friday. However, it is advisable to talk to a tax professional before making the call.

HMRC Tax Avoidance Campaigns - Revenue Collected by October 31, 2014

Campaign Revenue
Tax Health Plan £69,323,173
Tax Catch Up Plan £2,948,256
Value Added Tax Outstanding Returns £37,812,885
VAT Initiative £22,271,526
Plumbers Tax Safe Plan £22,166,777
Electricians Tax Safe Plan £15,747,864
E Marketplaces £8,974,292
Direct Selling £495,133
Tax Returns Initiative £86,163,464
My Tax Return Catch Up £32,502,644
Property Sales £7,504,112
Offshore Disclosure Facility £512,190,000
Offshore New Disclosure Opportunity £156,923,070
Campaigns Consequential Disclosures* £5,116,343
Let Property £7,852,753
Health Well Being Tax Plan £809,505
Total £988,801,797

Source: HMRC

* These disclosures are from individuals not targeted by any campaign who have voluntarily come forward and used the campaigns disclosure line to tell HMRC about undeclared income