With their ‘We’re Closing In…’ tax evasion campaign in full swing, HM Revenue and Customs have announced another drive to try and net as much unpaid tax as possible.
The ‘Let Property’ campaign is targeting landlords, a group who may be underpaying as much as £500 million in tax every year, mostly due to landlords not understanding that income tax must be claimed from rent paid to landlords. The campaign will run for 18 months and allow landlords to come forward and admit to underpaying tax, whether through honest mistakes or deliberately, without fear of a criminal prosecution.
HMRC recently calculated that up to 1.5 million landlords in the UK aren’t paying enough tax, and so the campaign has provided a window for those who are underpaying to come forward and pay any tax that is owed, including interest.
Marian Wilson, head of HMRC campaigns, said “The message for all landlords owing tax is simple – it is better to come to us before we come to you.” The point is simple – landlords come forward voluntarily are guaranteed to pay less than those who are tracked down by HMRC after the campaign is over, and will avoid fees, penalties and criminal prosecution.
All kinds of landlords in the UK are being targeted, from traditional residential rentals to holiday homes to students. All rentals are subject to tax, and it is hoped that the new campaign will collect a large amount of tax while spreading a clear message to tax avoiders.
After the campaign finishes, HMRC will take a hard line on the landlords who did not come forward. Similar HMRC campaigns have collected over £550 million in tax since 2007, and it is hoped that this operation will yield similar results.
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