Plumbers fear taxman's tap on the shoulder

Plumbers are being targeted by the taxman as the HM Revenue and Customs steps up its effort to wrench taxes from those it believes have underpaid.

The HMRC announced that it had arrested five plumbers and that a further 600 were under civil investigation for allegedly underpaying their taxes, despite a government scheme to giving the industry an opportunity to come forward voluntarily and put their tax affairs in order.

"HMRC have had limited success with numbers coming forward, so they are getting tough with those who didn't register or disclose," said a Chartered Institute of Taxation spokesman.