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HMRC to extend its tax campaigns

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HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced that it intends to target more groups of workers in its efforts to recoup unpaid taxes.

Last month, HMRC launched a campaign aimed at businesses that might be trading above the VAT threshold of £73,000 but have yet to register with the tax authorities.

Now HMRC will be looking at e-marketplaces and private tuition providers in an effort to tighten up the tax-take.

The campaigns should be rolled out in 2011/12.

As part of the new campaigns, those who provide private tuition and coaching will come under the spotlight. The aim is to look at professionals who are able to earn money from providing tuition and coaching, either as a main or a secondary income.

It will cover people providing private lessons and could include, for example, fitness/dance/lifestyle coaches through to national curriculum subject tutors and others.

Another target for HMRC will be those who use e-marketplaces to buy and sell goods as a trade or business and who fail to pay the tax owed. People who only sell a few items and who are not traders are unlikely to be liable to tax and will be excluded from the investigation.

Following on from the recent offer of a partial amnesty to businesses working in the plumbing industries, HMRC also said that it would be inviting other groups of tradespeople to come forward and declare unpaid tax.

Mike Wells, HMRC’s director of risk and intelligence, said: “We want to make sure HMRC listens to as many informed views as possible for our future campaigns. We want the views and experience of people and organisations outside the department to play a fuller part in the campaigns that we design for customers.

“By being open about our areas of interest for the coming year we hope to maximise that exchange of information and ensure we reduce the tax gap and help customers pay what they owe.

“We will use the information we gather to pursue people who choose not to use the opportunities we provide for them to put their affairs in order on the best possible terms. It will be more expensive if we come and find people, so I urge them to come forward and disclose voluntarily.”

So far, more than £500 million has been raised by HMRC from voluntary disclosures and a further £100 million from follow-up activity.