SME builders have until end of August to take advantage of lower penalty scheme

HMRC has issued warning letters to plumbers to close “gaps” in their tax affairs by taking advantage of a new amnesty that could also be used by SME builders.

If they disclose unpaid tax before the end of August then most will only face a penalty rate of 10 per cent, with a maximum rate of 20 per cent of their tax bill.

Tax irregularities normally earn a fine of between 30 and 100 per cent and can even result in a criminal prosecution.

While the initiative is targeted at plumbers, HMRC said it would not stop other tradespeople including builders making a disclosure under the same scheme.

Anyone wishing to use the scheme must tell HMRC that they will do so by the end of May, and then provide full details of unpaid tax by the end of August.

After this date, HMRC warned that a full investigation into those who have not declared will follow.