HMRC has this week launched its new worldwide disclosure facility (WDF), enabling taxpayers with undeclared offshore income or assets to make a notification and full disclosure online via the new digital disclosure service. From the end of September 2016, HMRC will start to receive financial account information automatically from the UK’s Crown Dependencies and overseas territories.
This new facility gives offshore evaders a last chance to come forward and settle tax on their wealth hidden offshore ahead of new data sharing arrangements and tougher penalties being introduced.
The WDF offers no special terms: those who come forward will pay the tax in full, with interest on top, with a minimum penalty of 30% of the tax due for evaders, and they could still face criminal prosecution. The quality of the information disclosed will be taken into consideration and it is always advisable to come forward and ensure any outstanding tax liabilities are in order as soon as possible.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will also consider how long it has taken for someone to put their tax affairs in order when calculating penalties. This means that those who have delayed disclosing or ignored past opportunities will no longer get a reduction for disclosure.
Those who do not come forward will face the new Requirement To Correct (RTC) penalties being consulted on; one option being considered is a minimum 100% penalty – significantly higher than the current minimums.
If you have any concerns or would like us to assist you in making a disclosure to HMRC please call Sue Stephens.