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'Ghost' plumbers arrested in tax raids

HMRC have announced that five plumbers have been arrested and approximately 600 are under civil investigation by HMRC for failing to pay the right amount of tax.

The arrests and investigations have taken place as part of a campaign targeting plumbers which invited them to put their tax affairs in order, referred to as the Plumbers Tax Safe Plan (PTSP). Under the PTSP those coming forward to make full disclosures of unpaid liabilities face reduced penalties. They have until 31 August 2011 to arrange for payment. According to the HMRC press release they believe that some of those involved owe up to £150,000.

More raids are expected to take place over the coming weeks across the UK, including Yorkshire, Kent, Cambridgeshire, Tyne & Wear, Midlands and South Wales.

John Pointing, Assistant Director of HMRC Criminal Investigation, said:

'These raids and arrests of 'ghosts' - people who have not declared income from the work they do - are the culmination of months of work by HMRC.'

'We provided a chance for those we have arrested, and the 600 we are investigating, to come forward voluntarily and put things right. These arrests send a clear message that HMRC will take action against those who choose not to come forward and pay the tax they owe.'

Mike Wells, Director HMRC Risk & Intelligence Service, said:

'These arrests are just the start. HMRC is considering hundreds of further cases for criminal investigation in the plumbing and medical professions. Some people may have thought we were bluffing when we said we have information that we will use to prosecute tax evasion.'

Internet link: News release



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