Press reaction to HMRC’s tax amnesty

The response from the national press following the announcement of HMRC’s tax
amnesty has been widespread, but few city editors have stuck their neck out to
comment on the issues surrounding the news.

However, Damian Reece, business editor at the
, was one of the few to brave an analysis.

Reece asked ‘when is an amnesty not an amnesty?’. He said the taxman had
offered more stick than carrot, with HMRC using high interest rates on any
unpaid tax, so the deal is even less inviting than it first appears.

Tax campaigner Richard Murphy has also covered the amnesty comprehensively on

He says the wide-ranging nature of the amnesty was a ‘massive opportunity’
for the shadow economy to come clean in the UK.

That HMRC has introduced the fixed penalty is useful for tax advisers, said
Murphy, although he was delighted HMRC had reserved the right to come down more
harshly in exceptional circumstances.

Murphy suggested the calculations offered by advisers in terms of potential
tax liabilities could be too low, as they had not considered that money stashed
offshore might not have been subject to income tax or VAT.

Accountancy Age’s leader column stated that
HMRC should focus more on its policies over domicile and residence, which the
leader described as helping to create a culture in which tax and civic
responsibilities have become ‘obscured’. 

Coverage of the amnesty in the press has been sympathetic towards the
middle-class, but the leader said these people affected by the amnesty ‘should
know better’.

Further reading:

to the offshore disclosure facility

Hit squads ‘will move in after amnesty’

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