As part of a rolling series of simplified disclosure campaigns HMRC has announced that it will be launching yet another campaign in February 2012. That campaign will be aimed at electricians and electrical fitters and will be known as the Electricians Tax Safe Plan (ETSP).
This will be very similar to the recent campaigns relating to both plumbers and to tutors and coaches. The campaign is unlikely to be available to unqualified electricians or anyone who is not a member of an established trade body. The taxman defines an electrician as being “anyone who installs; maintains; or tests: electrical systems; equipment; or appliances, under stringent safety regulations”.
This is not a tax amnesty. It is a mechanism whereby people in the relevant trades, with tax irregularities, can come forward and make a disclosure using a simplified process. Although the process is simplified most electricians will still require professional help in making a disclosure. For people with one-off technical irregularities, in one or two years, the scheme can be very straightforward, and does offer reasonably low penalties. Although the penalties are actually no lower than would normally be achieved in a regular disclosure. However, for traders with significant omissions of profits, and in particular those trades where the irregularities go back more than four years, the campaigns can be problematic.
Although they have not announced any further details as yet, it is highly likely that HMRC have obtained a large amount of data regarding payments made to electricians from various sources. It could be that they have obtained the membership list of the relevant trade bodies. Also, they will be looking at payments made to electricians from public bodies, or in respect of special returns made by local authorities, large companies and housing associations. This would include any payments made through any grant, including grants relating to insulation and solar panels.
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