Legal Information Centre


27 May 2009 by Mary Heaney

Tax lawyer: second amnesty for offshore account

Tax lawyers are advising clients with offshore accounts to look into the opportunity offered by the Customs & Revenue's (HMRC) new tax amnesty.


Tax lawyers are advising clients with offshore accounts to look into the opportunity offered by the Customs & Revenue's (HMRC) new tax amnesty.



The New Disclosure Opportunity (NDO), running from Autumn 2009 to March 2010, is the second amnesty for individuals with undeclared offshore bank accounts and tax lawyers are recommending that individuals who did not take advantage of the first scheme speak to their tax lawyer regarding this second chance.



Tax lawyers warn of risks




The announcement follows the news that HMRC is trying to obtain information from over 500 UK and foreign banks and building societies regarding clients with offshore bank accounts. Tax lawyers are warning clients that their banks may well have already passed on details of transactions with offshore accounts or investments. If this is the case and HMRC suspect fraud then they will likely choose to investigate, at which point an individual will most certainly require the services of a tax lawyer to prevent or defend a criminal prosecution.



Tax lawyer are advising that those who do come forward of their own volition will pay a lower penalty preferable to an investigation. The exact figure is yet to be confirmed but those who took the advice of their tax lawyer and declared their unpaid tax in the last amnesty were only subjected to a 10% fixed penalty. This represents a significant discount on the 70% penalty for deliberate inaccuracies and 100% for concealment which tax lawyers warn clients they would otherwise face.



NB: None of this information should be construed as legal advice.




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