Health professionals such as physiotherapists and psychologists are running out of time to bring their tax affairs up to date on the best terms possible under a campaign being run by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Over 180,000 people working across the health sector were given the chance to take advantage of the opportunity being offered under the Health and Wellbeing Tax Plan, launched in October 2013, to get their taxes in order.
HMRC has sent up to 1,000 letters to people we have identified as having outstanding Self-Assessment returns for any of the years between 2009-10 and 2011-12 to flag up the campaign. For those choosing not to come forward, we will use sophisticated software to identify and contact those who could owe tax.
People affected had until the end of 2013 to contact HMRC and tell us they want to bring their tax affairs up to date. They now have until 6 April 2014 to make the disclosure and pay what they owe.
People who have signed up to the campaign can access a disclosure form online at https://www.gov.uk/voluntary-disclosure-health-wellbeing
Anyone who has missed the notification deadline and wants to make a disclosure should call the dedicated helpline on 0845 600 4507.
Not taking advantage of the campaign opportunity could mean people face a penalty equivalent to up to 100 per cent of the tax and National Insurance Contributions owed – or even criminal prosecution.
The initiative is the latest campaign to be launched by HMRC to make sure tax is paid so the maximum amount is available to spend on the public services that are used by everyone. It builds on earlier voluntary campaigns, which have already raised £552 million from voluntary disclosures, by making it easy for people to put things right, pay the tax they owe and put their tax affairs in order for the future.
In 2010, the Medics Tax Health Plan campaign, focused on doctors and dentists, resulted in over 1,500 tax disclosures, with a combined value of £10.5 million. To date, the campaign has generated over £54 million from customers we have followed up directly and up to £100 million from its wider impact on taxpayers.
Now HMRC is giving the wider health professionals’ community a similar quick and straightforward chance to take advantage of the best terms possible when they bring their tax affairs up to date.
Among those able to benefit from this window are physiotherapists, occupational therapist, chiropractors, osteopaths and chiropodists and podiatrists. Alternative medicine professionals such as homeopaths, dieticians, nutritional therapists, reflexologists and acupuncturists can also come forward to avoid tougher penalties, as can psychologists, speech and language therapists and arts therapists.
The best terms available
People who have chosen to participate in the campaign can take advantage of the best terms available and increase the chances of avoiding a higher penalty.
Tax and interest will still have to be paid, but the penalty will between 0 per cent and 35 per cent of the amount owed.
Those taking part will also avoid a potentially expensive and time-consuming tax enquiry, as well as the damage to their reputation which a criminal investigation can bring.
Now the notification window has closed, HMRC will be following up with a programme of compliance interventions and will continue to use sophisticated software to look more closely at those who have not come forward voluntarily, and could contact people at any time.
The department will vigorously chase up the tax returns from those whom we asked to catch up. Non-respondents will be considered for a tax determination, where HMRC decides how much tax should be paid, and collection of any unpaid debt and penalties.