HMRC campaigns in practice

Produced by Tolley in association with Guy Smith of inTAX Ltd

The following Owner-Managed Businesses guidance note Produced by Tolley in association with Guy Smith of inTAX Ltd provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • HMRC campaigns in practice
  • Introduction
  • How are campaigns publicised?
  • How are campaigns structured?
  • How is the disclosure quantified?
  • How can a disclosure be made outside a campaign?
  • What does HMRC do on receipt of a disclosure?
  • What happens if the disclosure is refused?
  • What happens if a disclosure opportunity is not taken up?

HMRC campaigns in practice


Campaigns are disclosure opportunities offered to selected groups of individuals, traders and professionals, who wish to make a voluntary declaration of understated income and overstated expenses.

As an incentive, favourable penalty terms are offered to those within the target groups, who decide to make disclosures giving rise to additional tax.

During an enquiry or other compliance check, an individual, trader or professional can be charged up to 100% of any additional tax found to be due but, during campaigns, the penalty charged is usually no more than 20%.

Doctors, dentists, plumbers, electricians, tutors, fitness coaches and online auction traders are amongst who have already been offered beneficial disclosure deals. To keep up-to-date with future campaigns, see the GOV.UK website.

Further information concerning the background and selection of campaigns can be found in the HMRC campaigns ― introduction guidance note.

How are campaigns publicised?

HMRC will generally issue a press release and then undertake a publicity drive, placing adverts in the trade press or professional publications of the intended target audience.

HMRC follows up the initial media publicity with letters to those people it believes should be aware of the disclosure opportunity. It sends out thousands of letters to individuals and businesses it identifies from its internal database. For example, 64,350 letters were issued by HMRC as part of a former campaign targeting self-employed electricians (the Electricians’ Tax Safe Plan).

Regular updates on forthcoming disclosure opportunities and the success of ongoing campaigns are regularly publicised by HMRC via its website. The link to the campaigns news page can be found here.

How are campaigns structured?

For most campaigns, there are two key deadlines.

The first deadline involves a notification period. A date is set by when the individual, trader or professional within the target group has to notify HMRC of an intention to make a disclosure of understated income and / or overstated expenses.

The second deadline involves the disclosure and payment period. A date is set by when the individual, trader or professional

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