July 28 2014 Latest news:

Hundreds of doctors, dentists and other health professionals face large bills or prosecution if they fail to update the taxman on their affairs over the next few days.

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Final-warning letters have landed or are about to land on the doormats of 2,500 people, informing them that HM Revenue & Customs knows their tax affairs are not up to date.

The letters warn that HMRC will either “make a determination”, which would mean the imposition of higher charges, or refer the case to its criminal investigations department with a view to prosecution.

Those targeted by the taxman have been given 21 days to put their affairs in order before the tough sanctions kick in.

“HMRC made clear at the launch of the Tax Health Plan in January 2010 that it would be adopting a carrot and stick approach,” said RSM Tenon tax expert Gary Ashford.

“It has offered the carrot of a relatively low penalty rate for doctors to get their affairs in order, and 1,500 health professionals took it up, bringing in £10m for the Exchequer.

“Now it is wielding the stick at those who have not come forward.”

Mr Ashford, who represents the Chartered Institute of Taxation on HMRC’s compliance reform forum, added: “People should not underestimate the amount of data that HMRC is holding. It has been talking to medical insur-ance companies, pharmaceutical companies and locum agencies.

“What we are now seeing is HMRC starting to use that information, to identify who has not notified HMRC of all their tax liabilities.”

A similar crackdown on plumbers has resulted in nine arrests since August, and tax experts are warning doctors and others in the medical profession that HMRC will take an equally tough line with them.

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