Health and Wellbeing Tax Plan: new voluntary disclosure facility for health and wellbeing professionals

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has recently announced a new voluntary disclosure opportunity for those working in the health and wellbeing sector which will allow qualifying professionals to bring their tax affairs up to date. 

Who can use the facility to make disclosures?

The facility is open to anyone with undisclosed tax and duties who works in healthcare fields such as physical therapy, alternative medicines and other therapeutic professions, for example:

  • physiotherapists, chiropractors, chiropodists, osteopaths and occupational therapists
  • practitioners in homeopathy, acupuncture, reflexology, nutritional therapy and other alternative medicines, and
  • physiologists, speech therapists and arts therapists.

It’s not open to those medical professionals who were eligible for the previous HMRC Tax Health Plan (i.e. doctors, dentists and other and medical professionals).

It’s possible to make a personal disclosure, or one on behalf of a company, trust or deceased person.  If you, or your client, have something to disclose, you’ll need to notify HMRC by 31 December 2013 and make a full disclosure and payment by 6 April 2014. 

Disclosures are expected to ‘self-report’ the amount of penalty due based on mistake, carelessness or deliberate behaviour. If tax liabilities are the result of a mistake or careless behaviour, the disclosure only needs to go back a maximum of six years. HMRC is also willing to consider time to pay for those that can’t afford a lump sum payment by April next year.

A chance to settle overdue tax liabilities

This disclosure facility is another opportunity for clients to settle overdue tax liabilities and gain certainty that their tax affairs are on the correct footing for the future. Penalties can be mitigated downwards with a complete and accurate disclosure, enabling clients to minimise the risk of being on the published list of deliberate defaulters or even criminal prosecution.  

For clients already under enquiry, there’s still the possibility that disclosures may be accepted but more in-depth discussions with HMRC will be needed in order to benefit from the facility. 

With HMRC’s increased activity in gathering and processing third-party information, those with undisclosed tax liabilities who don’t come forward are at risk of in-depth enquiry, with time limits going back up to 20 years and the possibility of criminal investigation.

Making the most of the opportunity

The Health and Wellbeing Tax Plan offers the opportunity to:

  • bring outstanding tax affairs up to date
  • minimise penalties through a complete and accurate disclosure, and
  • obtain certainty around amounts due and potentially spread these over a payment plan.

While the disclosure facility isn’t always simple for those with complex liabilities or already under enquiry, approaching HMRC in the right manner gives the best chance of mitigating penalties and obtaining certainty.

In some cases, a possible approach may be to use one of the offshore disclosure facilities to regularise any historic liabilities, especially given the current beneficial terms on offer. In order to use an offshore disclosure facility you’ll need to move quickly and have registered by 31 December 2013.

If you'd like to find out more about making a disclosure, or want to talk your clients through what options they have available in terms of approaching HMRC, you can contact Ronnie Pannu or your usual contact in our Tax Dispute Resolution team.