Poll rejects plans for second offshore amnesty

The taxman should not run a second amnesty, Accountancy Age readers have

In an poll on an imminent second trawl of offshore bank
accounts, a slim majority voted that there should not be another offshore
disclosure facility, but for different reasons.

A third agreed with the idea that there should not be a second offshore
facility, saying: ‘what was the point of the first one if it wasn’t a once and
for all opportunity?’

A further 21% said there should not be one on the grounds that ‘HMRC
shouldn’t have offered the facility at all, these people are tax evaders and
should be punished.’

The rest voted in favour of a second amnesty.Some 25% said that ‘many people
won’t have known anything about the first one and unfairly missed out.’

The remaining 21% said that there should be another facility ‘but HM Revenue
& Customs should up the penalty charge to punish those who “missed” the
first one.’

HMRC revealed last week that it had hauled in £400m from the first offshore
facility. The sum was less than some had anticipated, but it may rise as HMRC is
still waiting for ‘a significant amount’ of money to clear.

Despite the views of readers, the taxman seems set on launching a new amnesty
scheme. It is in talks with more than 150 banks about obtaining hold of more
bank account data. The first trawl concerned only five ­ albeit the largest ­

Advisers have raised concerns as to how a second disclosure scheme would work
given it has already offered a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity through the
first scheme.

The taxman had indicated on Accountancy Age TV earlier this year that the
plans were at an early stage.

Dave Hartnett, now acting chairman of HM Revenue & Customs, said: ‘We
will try and do something similar, on the principle that a repentant sinner
coming forward is what we want.

‘We want to offer something similar to those who haven’t received letters
from their banks. We haven’t quite worked out how to do it yet,’ he said.

Related reading