By Ian Quinn
Thousands of GPs have received letters from HM Revenue & Customs warning that they are suspected of owing unpaid tax going back up to two decades.
The extent of the crackdown by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has shocked accountants, with 28,000 GPs, hospital doctors and dentists having been warned they are under investigation.
It comes as very few GPs are believed to have responded to earlier calls by the body to come forward to declare income amid fears that with time running out many will face full investigations.
Under a partial amnesty being offered by the Government, medical professionals have been given until the end of the month to make a full disclosure or lose the right to a reduced penalty.
If GPs under suspicion fail to notify HRMC by 30 March 2010, any found to owe tax on income going back up to 20 years face the prospect of paying a penalty of 100% of the tax owed, on top the debt and interest.
Those who do come forward will have to pay any outstanding tax, plus an additional 10% fine.
Bob Senior, head of medical services at accountants RSM Tenon, said the number of doctors sent letters showed how seriously the tax authorities were taken the issue and urged GPs not to ignore it.
‘This is a wake up call to some GPs who may not have been taking this too seriously. With 20,000 letters going out its safe to assume that we are talking about thousands of GPs.'
He said the sort of work which may not have been declared would include GPs producing insurance reports for insurance companies and out of hours work for private firms, while consultants face investigation for their work with private hospitals.
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