More taxpayers at risk of jail time

The new Fraud Bill, which may be accepted by MPs this autumn, could see more
taxpayers prosecuted, mid-tier firm UHY Hacker Young has warned.

The bill proposes to change the definition of fraud in dealings with HM
Revenue & Customs from ‘knowingly making false statements’ to ‘deliberately
failing to disclose information’.

Clive Gawthorpe, partner at Hacker Young, said: ‘There is a significant
difference between knowingly making a false statement and deliberately not
disclosing information. The Revenue’s powers to extract information will be
strengthened by this bill.’

He said that under present rules if individuals failed to provide information
requested by the taxman in the course of their inquiries, they typically just
face fines.

Under the new legislation, the omission of information – even as a result of
an honest mistake – could be an imprisonable offence, Gawthorpe claimed.

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