By Marcus Leach

A campaign to target private tutors and coaches who have undeclared tax liabilities has been launched by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The Tax Catch up Plan (TCP) is for people providing private lessons, regardless of whether they have a teaching qualification. It is aimed at those who profit from tuition and coaching, as a main or secondary income, on which the correct tax has not been paid because they have not told HMRC about it.

The opportunity is available to those providing tuition, instruction or coaching. This includes, for example, tuition of traditional academic subjects, fitness and dance instruction, musical instrument tuition, art, services provided by life coaches and others.

Under the plan, tutors and coaches have until 31 March 2012 to come forward and tell HMRC about their outstanding tax for the years up to 5 April 2010, and pay what they owe. The plan makes it easy for customers to put their tax affairs right and keep them on the right track in the future.

Those who come forward by the deadline are likely to receive the best possible terms for paying the tax owed. If they have to pay a penalty, it is unlikely to be more than 20 per cent of the unpaid tax. Those who wait for HMRC to come to them will find that they have to pay much higher penalties, or even face criminal prosecution. After 31 March, using information pulled together from different sources, HMRC will investigate those who have chosen not to come forward.

“Our campaigns are designed to ensure tax is paid so that the money is available to spend on public services used by everyone. We are making it as easy as possible for people offering tuition and coaching to use this unique opportunity to put their tax affairs in order by making a full disclosure, and benefit from the best possible terms," Marian Wilson, Head of HMRC Campaigns, said.

“We are using various intelligence sources to identify and then target those who do not take advantage of this opportunity to declare their full income. The message is clear: contact us before we contact you.“

The Tax Catch up Plan has two stages:

* From 10 October 2011 to 6 January 2012, tutors/coaches/instructors must register with HMRC to “notify” that they plan to make a voluntary tax disclosure.

* By 31 March 2012 those who have registered to notify must tell HMRC what they owe and pay the tax, interest and penalties due.

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