Builders and doorstep traders should own up to tax evasion

Contractor accountants may be interested to learn that HMRC is to target people in the construction trade and those who make revenue from hand-delivered home catalogues in their latest set of campaigns to stamp out tax evasion.

Workers who will be affected include bricklayers, carpenters, joiners, roofers and window installers. People indulging in doorstep selling and those who receive commission on those deals will also come under the microscope.

The Revenue also intends to investigate people who do not complete tax returns, especially if they should be paying income tax at the higher rate. HMRC has also reaffirmed that it intends to target electricians and people trading on e-bay type online marketplaces.

We’ve already seen various campaigns that have targeted medics, plumbers, tutors and coaches and people with offshore bank accounts. The new campaigns will follow the same remit and encourage people to disclose unpaid tax in return for lower than usual penalties.

HMRC now has new technology that allows it to find information about targeted people online and cross-reference it with the details provided on tax returns.

PKF, the accountancy firm, has welcomed the new disclosure facilities but expressed concerns as to whether the Revenue was tackling tax evasion in the most cost-effective way. John Cassidy, a partner at the firm, said it would be more cost-effective to offer a tax amnesty to all individuals, including the self-employed.

Gary Ashford from the CIoT said these latest campaigns show the government is serious about eliminating tax evasion.

The government intends to save £7 billion over the length of this Parliament through its investigations into tax avoidance, evasion and fraud.

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