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During a targeted crackdown by HM Revenue & Customs, five plumbers were arrested while being investigated for unpaid tax. In addition to the arrests, 500 others in the trade were under investigated. The plumbers were arrested during raids which were carried out in London, Surrey, West Bromwich, Middlesex and Hampshire.

A campaign had previously been launched to give plumbers a chance to come forward and pay any unpaid tax, attracting fines of up to 20 percent of the amount of tax which was owed. Since the May deadline has passed, a series of raids has been carried out to enforce payment from those who owe tax from income which hasn’t been declared. A general letter was issued to 50,000 people in the plumbing trade which issued a warning to any plumbers owing to tax, to pay it.

HMRC have been working for months on some cases to carry out raids on ghosts, which are people who don’t declare earnings from work they carry out. Some investigations are for amounts of unpaid tax up to £150,000. Further raids will be carried out in the Midlands, South Wales, Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire, Kent and Tyne and Wear.

Gary Ashford of the Chartered Institute of Taxation said:

“HMRC have had limited success with the numbers coming forward in the recent medical and plumbers disclosure opportunities, so they are getting tough with those who did not register or disclose.”

Ashford also pointed out that HMRC hold a large amount of data, and are looking to apprehend those who don’t abide by the law.

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