21 August 2014
HMRC has stepped up pressure on offshore evasion with the launch of two new consultations.
As part of the taxman’s strategy No Safe Havens, the first consultation will look into the design of tailored sanctions to more effectively deter tax non-compliance linked to income and gains arising and assets held offshore. It seeks views on the design of the proposed options and would like to hear from its customers, in particular: individuals with offshore income, gains and assets; tax practitioners; representative bodies; and other interested parties.
The second consultation will look into the design of introducing a new strict liability criminal offence. It seeks views on the design of this offence and HMRC would be interested to hear from tax and legal professionals, and those involved in offshore investments, including taxpayers who may be affected by the new offence.
Commenting on the consultations, head of personal tax investigations at KPMG, Derek Scott said: ‘These are important consultation papers which significantly develop the offshore evasion arena. Added to this, HMRC will also be in receipt of increasing amounts of information from many countries as a result of international cooperation agreements.
‘Anyone taking the view they are out of sight and will not be discovered should think again or face up to the possible financial and/or criminal sanctions that could be awaiting them.
‘Whilst there are an increasing number of people prosecuted for tax evasion, it is important to remember that the vast majority of cases continue to be concluded by HMRC for a civil financial settlement. We would fully expect this to continue for those who are coming forward to put matters straight.Both consultations will close on 31 October 2014.