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Warnings issued over new HMRC tax evasion plans

Advisors have been quick off the mark in voicing concerns regarding possible new criminal and civil sanctions in cases related to offshore tax evasion.

HM Revenue and Customs is looking for opinions of the new offence, along with relevant safeguards and stricter civil sanctions for those convicted of offshore evasion. This includes anyone who moves their taxable assets from one offshore bank to another in different countries, in a bid to keep their wealth hidden.

Increased fines up to 200 per cent of tax for capital gains tax and income tax liabilities have been in effect since 2011.

The consultation assesses circumstances in which assets have been moved from an offshore centre with tightened laws on the sharing of tax data to one with more flexible rules.

There could also be a suspension of the rule which prevents HMRC from looking at taxpayers’ affairs more than 20 years prior.

However, advisors are concerned that the proposals are extreme.

Previous rules stated that HMRC has to prove intentional tax evasion beyond any reasonable doubt for a successful prosecution, but that may no longer be the case.

Any businesses that maintain offshore accounts ethically will need to stay alert to the changes in order to avoid any proposed penalties laid out by HMRC. They aren’t always the easiest aspects of day-to-day business to understand, however, which is why it is always easier to leave such matters to an accountant. In the Wirral and other areas of the North West, many businesses are already doing just that.

Posted by Mark
September 3, 2014

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