Hundreds of GPs suspected of tax avoidance have been given a deadline of three weeks to explain themselves to the taxman.
HMRC sent out letters last week to 2,500 doctors and dentists giving them just 21 days to contact them over alleged irregularities, or face a tax demand or possible criminal prosecution.
Those targeted had failed to respond to a partial amnesty which last year saw 1,500 doctors and dentists offered reduced penalty rates, in a drive which netted £10 million. At the time accountants warned GPs who did not come forward during the amnesty they could face tax bills of up to £250,000.
‘HMRC want people and businesses to put their tax affairs right and pay anything that is owed,’ said an HMRC spokesperson.
‘We expect the people we contact to respond and we are clear in our letters about what action we will take if they choose not to.’
Paul Samrah, partner at the accountants Kingston Smith, said HMRC were ‘flexing their muscles’ and would be scrutinising GPs’ private income.
‘Anyone who’s not reported income privately earned will be in the firing line. HMRC has loads of data that can be cross-checked,’ he said.
‘They did offer a relatively low penalty rate for doctors to get their affairs in order – now they are wielding the big stick.’