Mooted Automatic Criminal Offence re Undeclared Offshore Assets

As part of its current attack on tax evasion linked to offshore assets, HMRC is considering making it an automatic criminal offence to hold offshore assets and not declare them to HMRC: regardless of whether any tax fraud is proven.

Currently, HM Revenue & Customs can launch a criminal tax prosecution where it can prove tax fraud, including in cases where offshore assets are concerned.  However, following the recent update of its  “No safe havens 2014” manifesto, HMRC is now consulting on the idea of creating what is known as a “strict liability” criminal offence – of having understated tax linked to an offshore asset.  If this becomes law, then it will do away with HMRC’s need to prove that there was any fraudulent intention.  Simply having undeclared foreign income in itself will become a crime, regardless of whether the taxpayer’s behaviour in relation to it was deliberate or wholly innocent.

In addition to facing a jail term for this new strict liability offence, the taxman is also proposing that errant taxpayers should face even larger tax related penalties than the current maximum 200% of unpaid tax: where tax havens are concerned.

What does this mean to me?

If you have an offshore asset and undeclared UK tax liabilities, then not only is HMRC more likely to find you due to its massively improved information gathering exercise, but now the sanctions you could face are becoming increasingly serious.

How can Lynam Tax Disclosure Experts help me?
Our Offshore Tax Disclosure Specialists have a huge amount of experience in dealing with voluntary disclosures in respect of UK residents with offshore assets. We have the training, knowledge, skills and deep experience to manage your offshore disclosure to HMRC.  We can reduce the stress and get the best solution for you.

To find out how we can help you and for a free, confidential and no obligation discussion, call:

Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 0771 877 8710