Widen offshore amnesty, experts demand

Jersey: tax haven

Jersey: tax haven

A new amnesty launched by HM Revenue & Customs for taxpayers with bank
accounts overseas has failed to clarify the position of people with tax
liabilities at home in the UK, experts claim.

The amnesty, or new disclosure order (NDO), has been launched for people who
owe tax on interest earned in offshore bank accounts and offers lenient penalty

But experts have complained the special terms should be offered to taxpayers
with onshore tax liabilities to settle too.

Gary Ashford, national head of tax risk and dispute resolution at RSM Bentley
Jennison, said the NDO is unfavourable for those with onshore outstanding tax

‘This could create an unfair position for those with UK only problems,’ he

‘It would be better to create a disclosure opportunity for all
irregularities, other than the most serious, whether it is offshore or onshore,
for the period of the NDO.’

Ashford said the NDO would be more effective if the terms took into account
taxpayers with all liabilities – onshore or offshore.

‘It is clear from the amount of guidance currently available that HMRC wants
to help as many people as possible to use this facility and come forward as
early as possible,’ he said.

A statement from HMRC said the department would be conducting ‘a new
disclosure initiative that will allow people with unpaid taxes linked to
offshore accounts or assets to settle their tax liabilities at a favourable
penalty rate’.

In the statement, Dave Hartnett, permanent secretary for tax at HMRC, omitted
to include onshore tax liabilities as part of the NDO.

Hartnett said: ‘This will be the last opportunity of its kind.’

The Chartered Institute of Taxation said HMRC has failed to discuss purely
onshore disclosures and will continue to seek guidance.

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