HMRC have secured a prosecution in an undisclosed Offshore Bank Account case; upping the fear factor before the New Disclosure Opportunity . After lots of professional commentary suggesting that the Offshore Disclosure Facility had been a bit of a damp squib (due to lack of publicity and the lack of a recent prosecution), HMRC seem to have answered their critics. A case of a Worcestershire businessman, jailed for 18 months, was reported by HMRC today, Thursday 29 January 2009.
Jonathon Cronin, age 45, ran 2 companies in Worcester; dealing in fire and security systems, CCTV and alarms. Some customers made cheques payable to Cronin personally. These ended up in an offshore bank account in Jersey. He also kept two sets of accounts, the real set and one for the taxman’s eyes.
Cronin was prosecuted by the Revenue & Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO). He pleaded guilty to four counts of Cheating the Public Revenue (of more than £220,000 tax) and was given a prison sentence of 18 months.
HMRC are currently seeking to obtain a Confiscation Order to reclaim his Proceeds of Crime. Typically HMRC confiscate sums vastly in excess of the tax lost.
This is the most recent dramatic example of HMRC trying to demonstrate their “get tough” attitude to anyone using offshore bank accounts to evade tax. This was precisely the type of case the Offshore Disclosure Facility was designed to handle. Anyone in a similar situation should get specialist advice: which could well help them avoid Prosecution and Confiscation Orders. We know that HMRC are about to announce another, so-called Tax Amnesty very soon (the New Disclosure Oppotunity) – giving immunity to prosecution and low penalties to those who make appropriate disclosures.
If you are worried about a potential tax prosecution or want to a make a disclosure (such as the New Disclosure Opportunity) Lynam Tax experts can assist you in handling these difficult issues, and advise you of the best course of action for you and your clients; on a confidential basis of course. For an initial free and discreet consultation, call Paul Lynam now on: 0845 643 9997