Naming and Shaming Tax Evaders: Budget 2009

The Chancellor announced that the names and details of serious tax defaulters will be published on HMRC’s website in future.

This will apply to Taxpayers (individuals, businesses and companies) who are charged penalties for deliberately understating tax due of more than £25,000.  They face being “named and shamed” unless a full disclosure is made within the required time limit (usually via their special units at Civil Investigation of Fraud or Specialist Investigations).  The Hall of Shame details will be published quarterly within one year of the penalty becoming final and will be removed from publication one year later.

There is an appeal right to an independent Tax Tribunal against all elements of the penalty, which would determine whether names would be published, and taxpayers will be informed prior to publication and be able to make representations to the Revenue.

Sufficient details will be published to ensure that the correct person is identified and the extent of the default. This will include: name and address; trade, profession or sector; amount of tax, interest and penalties; and the period covered.  Details will not be published until all appeal procedures against the additional tax and penalties are exhausted or expired.

What does this mean for me?

The taxman doesn’t yet ship tax defaulters off to Guantanamo Bay for water-boarding but they really are turning up the heat on anyone subject to an in-depth tax inspection. Being listed in this way could reveal details of your wealth to criminals and create serious problems with business associates such as banks.  Never has it been more important to have top quality expert help in dealing with an HMRC Tax Enquiry or Inspection.

Lynam Tax partners have a vast amount of practical experience in managing tax investigations and tax enquiries and in many we have been able to substantially reduce the amounts of money being sought by HMRC.  We are also experts in dealing with Disclosures (including the New Disclosure Opportunity – Tax Amnesty 2009).

If you’re subject to a worrying Tax Enquiry or Inspection and need to discuss this with a sympathetic, experienced professional, who can fight your corner then:

For a free, private, no obligation consultation, call Paul Lynam today on 0845 643 9997