Second Tax Amnesty - will it ever arrive?
Back in July we reported that a second “Tax Amnesty” was being seriously considered by HM Revenue & Customs. Since then we have heard nothing further until a report in Accountancy Age which confirms that HMRC are still considering this but are looking for a high profile prosecution to act as deterrent but are apparently having difficulty finding one.
With a new Chief Executive, Lesley Strathie, in charge at HMRC a second amnesty might be one of her first announcements. Alternatively it might turn up in the 2008 Pre Budget Report which is now expected to be in mid November.
If you find yourself in the position of having undisclosed income (overseas or UK) it probably makes sense to approach HMRC before they come to you. You should seek professional advice on this subject as a disclosure (and the subsequent enquiry by HMRC) needs to be managed carefully and can be fraught with difficulties.
A new penalty regime is being introduced which, in some circumstances, is much tougher than previously. It is unlikely that a prompted disclosure under the new regime would incur a penalty of less than 35%. If HMRC have already written to you about an offshore account they may take the view that you have been prompted!
Date: 16th October, 2008
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