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Heat is on for plumbing trade

Plumbers, gas fitters and heating engineers could face legal action as part of a clampdown on tax issues, a Shropshire accountant has warned.

HM Revenue and Customs are targeting the particular industry sectors in a bid to identify tradespeople who fail to declare their earnings and who don't pay tax.

Martyn Bramwell, from Dyke Yaxley Chartered Accountants, in Shrewsbury, said: "Under the tax plan, plumbers, gas fitters, heating engineers and members of associated trades need to come forward to admit any unpaid tax that they owe.

"There is a deadline of 31 May for people to tell HMRC that they intend to disclose anything they have not paid, and the penalties will be less harsh if they volunteer the information before that date.

"But after the deadline, things become much more serious, and HMRC will use information from all kinds of sources out carry out targeted investigations to find people who have failed to step forward.

"If they identify that you're guilty of unpaid tax, you will face substantial penalties or even a criminal prosecution."

As a first step in their new campaign, HMRC has launched the Plumbers' Tax Safe Plan to help tradespeople put their tax affairs right.

"The aim is to make it as easy as possible for plumbers to come forward, make a full disclosure of what they owe, and so receive a reduced penalty.

"HMRC will be using a wide variety of information sources to target plumbers who have not declared their full income, and the message is very clear - tradespeople should contact HMRC before HMRC contact them.

"Coming forward is the first step for anyone with undisclosed income or gains to avoid a full tax investigation with much higher penalties.

"Anyone in this industry sector who thinks they may owe tax on their income should contact HMRC as soon as possible and get their tax affairs in order simply and on the best available terms."

Photo: Martyn Bramwell