Business

Doctors and dentists to receive new tax warning letters

HMRC forms
Image caption The Revenue is moving closer to prosecuting dishonest doctors and dentists

About 2,500 doctors and dentists have been targeted by the authorities as probable tax dodgers.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will send them warning letters in the next few days, telling them to pay within 21 days or face possible prosecution.

The threats are part of the Revenue's efforts to recover unpaid tax owed by various professions and trades.

People selling on internet marketplaces, and electricians, will be targeted early next year.

As well as doctors and dentists, HMRC has already been paying special attention to the tax affairs of restaurant owners and their staff, plumbers, private tutors and scrap metal dealers, as well as people with money hidden in offshore bank accounts.

Last month, the Revenue added to its list of potential miscreants, announcing it would also be focusing on wealthy people who own homes abroad, as well as commodity traders.

Gary Ashford of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) said doctors and dentists should not ignore the Revenue's latest letters.

"HMRC will either 'make a determination', which would result in the taxpayer incurring significant additional charges, or refer the case to their criminal investigations department with a view to prosecution," he said.

"They have offered the carrot of a relatively low penalty rate for doctors to get their affairs in order and 1,500 health professionals took it up, bringing in £10m for the Exchequer.

"Now they are wielding the stick at those who have not come forward," he said.

Mr Ashford pointed out that the Revenue had been gleaning information from employers of doctors and dentists, such as locum agencies, drug companies and medical insurance firms.

"What we are now seeing is HMRC starting to use that information, to identify who has not notified HMRC of all their tax liabilities," Mr Ashford pointed out.

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