Taxman cracks down on health professionals



HMRC has warned health professionals ranging from physiotherapists to psychologists that they only have one more week to come clean about any money they have been hiding from the taxman. Any that are subsequently found to have lied to HMRC will face the full force of the law.

So what happens next?

Tax crackdowns have been taking place for the last three years. The first groups targeted were doctors and dentists in 2011 - which yielded £10 million for the Treasury. Since then it has clamped down on everyone from lawyers to hairdressers, raising £136 million since 2011. Now they have returned to health professionals.

The crackdown

The individuals covered in the latest crackdown include physiotherapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, chiropodists, podiatrists, homeopaths, dieticians, nutritional therapists, reflexologists, acupuncturists, psychologists, speech, language and art therapists and others.

At this stage they are simply being asked to come clean - with the promise of smaller fines than those they would have to pay if they waited for the taxman to find them first.

If they miss the deadline

However, if they fail take advantage of this small window of opportunity, HMRC has warned that things could get decidedly uncomfortable for any tax cheats subsequently exposed.

HMRC's Jennie Granger, Director General of Enforcement and Compliance, said: "Health professionals have been given every opportunity to take advantage of our quick and straightforward way of bringing their tax affairs up to date." She added that if they failed to act by the deadline they would "use information we hold from third parties and regulatory bodies to identify people who have not paid what they owe. Penalties – or even criminal prosecution – could follow."

The Crown Prosecution Service secured 200 tax evasion convictions in 2010-11, then 550 convictions in 2011-12. It wants to see that rise to 1,500 by the end of the next tax year.


Eliminating tax avoidance has been a big focus for the current government. It is seen as an easy way to raise more money without having to increase taxes.

In the Budget this month, George Osborne announced that alongside these crackdowns on various groups of professions, there will also be a general attack on those who use tax-avoidance schemes. It is set to send payment notices worth £7.1 billion to hundreds of thousands of people who use avoidance schemes which the taxman is currently investigating.

It will also give the taxman the power to raid the bank accounts of those who owe more than £1,000 in tax - and have already been contacted about paying up.

With increased funding for the taskforces, and new powers for the HMRC, the government has never been more serious about cracking down on those who don't pay their way. It's certainly food for thought for those nutritionists and psychologists who have been less than honest about their income.