By Daniel Hunter

Electricians around the country will start receiving letters this month from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) warning them to pay any undisclosed taxes.

Under a special, time-limited tax opportunity, electricians can pay the tax they owe, with lower penalties. Normally, up to 100 per cent of the tax owed can be charged to those who fall outside of such opportunities.

The Electricians Tax Safe Plan is aimed at anyone who installs, maintains and tests electrical systems, equipment and appliances — and covers any tax owed, for whatever reason.

This includes people who make mistakes in the amount of tax they pay — even though they have taken reasonable care; those who are careless; or those who deliberately don’t tell HMRC about something they should have paid tax on.

”Our aim is to make it easy for electricians to contact us, make a full disclosure of income and face a reduced penalty," Marian Wilson, head of HMRC Campaigns, said.

”We are using a variety of intelligence sources to target electricians who have not declared their full income. This is the same method we used for the plumbers’ campaign, and that intelligence has led to 10 arrests and thousands of investigations, so we know it works.

”The information we are getting is from a wide range of sources, including online advertising, industry bodies, trade directories, professional ‘electrical safety’ certificates, trade suppliers and tax records. Using sophisticated software, this detailed information enables us to target those who should come forward and use the Electricians Tax Safe Plan.

”I urge tradespeople in this group who think they owe tax on their income to get in touch and get their tax affairs in order, simply and on the best terms.

”We do not think everyone who receives a letter owes us tax. However, if you owe tax and don't get a letter, do not assume that HMRC will not catch up with you.”

The letter, going out to more than 50,000 electricians, explains that once the opportunity expires, HMRC will clamp down on those in the sector who have failed to declare earnings and pay the tax that they owe.

Under the Electricians Tax Safe Plan, electricians can come forward at any time between 14 February and 15 May to tell HMRC they want to take part. Once they come forward, they have until 14 August to make their disclosure and arrange for payment. If they make a full disclosure, most face a penalty rate of only 10 per cent, with a maximum of 20 per cent.

After 15 May, using information pulled together from different data sources, HMRC will investigate those who have failed to come forward. Substantial penalties or even criminal prosecution could follow.

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