We professionals in the tax business are fond of offering tax health checks to prospective clients, but now we should be offering health checks to medical professionals, who are the target of HMRC's latest campaign to collect tax from perceived miscreants. I am sure the Revenue is not suggesting that all in the health business are into dodgy dealing and falsifying their tax returns, but presumably there must be a supposition that “extras” such as giving references to patients, signing passport applications and getting payments from pharmaceutical companies slip through into doctors' pockets unnoticed by their accountants or tax advisers. Those targeted who have something to report must notify their intention to do so by 31st March 2010 and have until 30th June 2010 to have made the disclosure and arranged to pay any tax that is due.
Given that we have had two opportunities for people to disclose their offshore bank accounts and we have the ongoing Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility, the HMRC tactic is simply to concentrate the minds of a particular group of taxpayers. I doubt that doctors are any worse or any better than many other trades or professions. I assume this must be the first of many initiatives targeting various sections of the business community.
Who will be next on the list? Pharmacists? Tyre fitters? Plumbers? Wheel-tappers and shunters? Accountants and allied professions? It is a novel idea to put each sector under the microscope, but it will take an awfully long time to get through the list. I hope HMRC gets some tax dodgers to confess, but doubt the tax take will be significant from each campaign, especially given the disappointing response to the recently closed second campaign on offshore accounts.
© Jon Stow 2010
Details of the HMRC Tax Health Plan