Figures obtained from HM Revenue & Customs by CJ last week show that only a tiny proportion of penalties have been paid.
Revenue chiefs have also conceded that more than ВЈ100m in fines has been written off following successful appeals or companies and individuals leaving the industry.
That leaves ВЈ67m of fines still to chase from contractors. But industry experts are sceptical whether HMRC has the resources to go after people.
Howard Royse, the construction industry head for the Chartered Institute of Accountants, said: вЂњThis ВЈ67m figure could hang like a Sword of Damacles over the industry if the Revenue decides to go all out in the next few months to collect in as many fines as it can get. But IвЂ™m not sure if it really has the resources to do that.вЂќADVERTISEMENT
Companies are fined ВЈ100 for each late return under CIS and extra fines for each subsequent late or incorrect filing.
An HMRC spokesman said: вЂњThe ВЈ180m is the total amount of penalties issued. A large proportion of these have been remitted by HMRC because either the businesses in question have ceased to trade without informing us or there have been successful appeals.
вЂњAt present, around ВЈ67m remains in charge, but that figure might be reduced by further appeals and ВЈ5.5m has been collected so far. As with all HMRC work, recovery action is prioritised and outstanding penalties will be prioritised accordingly.вЂќ
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