TAX DISCLOSURES

Over the past few years there have been many favourable amnesties available to facilitate the disclosure of any historical income and gains linked to offshore assets.  HMRC are therefore taking a much stronger stance against any taxpayers who, in their eyes, have previously opted not to disclose despite several prompts and opportunities.

With the introduction of the Common Reporting Standard and various Beneficial Ownership Registers, HMRC’s ability to access third party information in other jurisdictions has increased significantly.  These new data sources will enable HMRC to more easily identify individuals who have not ensured that their tax affairs are up to date.

Furthermore, with the current “Requirement To Correct” and the “Failure To Correct” provisions coming in as of 1 October 2018, it is more important than ever to ensure that your tax affairs are in order.

Failure to do so could result in penalties of up to 300% of the potential lost revenue (minimum 100%), a potential 10% asset-based penalty and potential “naming and shaming”, whereby your name, address and details of tax underpaid are published by HMRC. This list can be searched for and accessed by anyone online, giving significant scope for reputational damage.

HMRC have also made it clear that they will not hesitate to prosecute individuals where appropriate.

Making a voluntary disclosure can mitigate many of these potential issues. Taking control of the process can make all the difference when it comes to negotiating penalties, and demonstrating to HMRC that you are keen to ensure that your tax affairs are in order.

There are currently several options for making a voluntary disclosure to HMRC. The best first step is to get in touch with a specialist who can advise on the most appropriate disclosure route for you, for example if you have undeclared rents then you may wish to register under the Let Property Campaign (LPC) or, for overseas income, it may be that the Worldwide Disclosure Facility (WDF) is the best option for you.

HMRC do reserve the right to refuse entry into any formal tax disclosure process, in which case they may open a compliance check or, in more serious cases, a fraud investigation.

Despite the voluntary nature of making a tax disclosure, it is also important to remember that any potentially contentious interaction with HMRC is still a process that should be taken seriously. Failure to provide a full and complete disclosure of all relevant liabilities may have significant implications.

We would therefore advise that any client considering making a tax disclosure speaks to a professional before initiating contact with HMRC, to ensure that the application for registration process runs as smoothly as possible and that the disclosure route chosen is the best option for you, having in mind your wider affairs and the risk of prosecution.

If you have already been approached by HMRC and you wish to discuss what to do next, please visit our tax enquiry page or give us a call on the number above and one of our specialists would be delighted to discuss how best to protect your interests, ensure that HMRC are not obtaining information they are not entitled to and ensure that the correct amount of tax is paid.

HOW CAN LANCASTER KNOX HELP?

At Lancaster Knox our Tax Investigation specialists are industry recognised and have made hundreds of tax disclosures to the UK authorities over the years.  We are adept at managing interactions with HMRC to ensure that the process runs smoothly and that the client’s interests are best protected.

We also appreciate that, often, this is the first tax disclosure that the client has ever made and voluntarily approaching HMRC can be a nerve-wracking experience.

Lancaster Knox will work with you, and your current adviser where relevant, to ensure that HMRC do not seek to obtain information they are not entitled to, that the process is as unobtrusive as possible and to give you peace of mind that any historical tax inaccuracies are resolved as soon as possible.