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Hundreds of GPs declare tax irregularities under tax amnesty

By Gareth Iacobucci

Hundreds of GPs across the country have come forward to declare tax irregularities under the HM Revenue and Customs clampdown on the medical profession, say accountants.

HMRC's tax amnesty gives doctors until June 30 to disclose unpaid liabilities and tax experts estimate around a fifth of the 2,500 doctors who have come forward so far are GPs.

Declaring untaxed income under the Tax Health Plan will mean these GPs paying the tax, interest and a reduced 10% penalty for their back taxes over the last 20 years, but accountants warned take up so far was 'quite low'.

Craig Tully, partner with Gilbert Tax, told Pulse as many as 2,500 doctors nationwide had come forward, and around a fifth of the cases he was seeing were GPs. ‘Broadly speaking, about one in five are NHS GPs,' he said.

Andrew Nutbrown, director in the Tax Dispute Resolutions Network at PricewaterhouseCoopers, confirmed the figures, which were first reported in the magazine Independent Practitioner Today.

‘Possibly 500 GPs have come forward voluntarily. Some have missed the deadline but will come forward, others will come forward when they realise they're going to be investigated, but they won't obviously get the set benefit of the tax health plan.'

‘Our experience is it could be £50-£100,000 settlements on average. So even 500 could produce quite a significant amount of tax.'

But despite the hundreds of GPs to come forward, Mr Nutbrown said the feeling among tax investigation experts was that ‘take-up was quite low'.

He said there were still a number of culpable GPs who had not come forward and were running the risk of being 'named and shamed' under new rules that enable HMRC to publish the names and addresses of anyone in the UK who has deliberately not paid tax where the liability exceeds £25,000.

‘HMRC now have power to name and shame, and I've no doubt they will seek to do that for suitable cases. The way to avoid that is to make sure that anybody who should have come forward but didn't gets the right help.

‘There will be a small number of people, even at this stage who don't play ball. They will run the risk of seeing their name in the newspaper.'

Tax clampdown