Posted on 3 June 2015
HMRC is warning solicitors that they have one final week left in which to pay the tax they owe on undeclared income or face hefty penalties.
The tax authority says that by taking the chance to come forward voluntarily, any penalties will be lower than if HMRC has to investigate their tax affairs.
Solicitors who make a full disclosure of tax owed will be offered a simple and straightforward way to put their tax affairs right, and will avoid paying a higher penalty.
The penalty would normally be between 0% and 20%, depending on circumstances.
Solicitors who do not come forward but are found to have unpaid tax liabilities will face higher penalties, rising to 100% of the tax unpaid or, possibly, criminal investigation.
Penalties for offshore-related income can be up to 200%.
Caroline Addison, head of campaigns, at HMRC, said: 'This disclosure scheme gives firms a fair chance to come forward and avoid tough penalties but we will not hesitate to investigate and penalise those still evading tax they owe once this opportunity passes.
‘We don’t think it’s too much to ask that solicitors abide by the law and pay the tax they owe.’
The Solicitors’ Tax Campaign, launched in December 2014, is the latest voluntary disclosure opportunity for specific groups of taxpayers to get their tax affairs in order on the best available terms.
Previous campaigns – which have included medical professionals, plumbers, tutors and coaches, electricians, online traders, landlords and health professionals - have raised over £1bn from voluntary disclosures and HMRC follow-ups.
These campaigns offer businesses of all sizes the ideal opportunity to come forward voluntarily, pay the tax they owe and avoid a HMRC investigation.
For more information, plus help and support on the campaign, solicitors can phone a dedicated helpline on 0300 013 4749 or visit www.gov.uk/solicitors-tax-campaign