Saturday, November 17, 2007

HMRC to launch a second offshore disclosure facility

Source: Moneymarketing

HMRC is planning to introduce a second offshore disclosure facility in an effort to catch tax dodgers with offshore accounts. An HMRC spokesperson has confirmed that plans are being put in place to repeat the ‘amnesty’ that was carried out earlier in the year.

She says: “Yes there will be another facility but we’re not sure when or how that will operate.”

Grant Thornton tax investigations director Gary Ashford says a second disclosure facility is unlikely to generate much additional revenue for the Treasury, as the first hasn’t been as successful as HMRC expected.

He adds it is likely there will be a late influx of payments under the first ‘amnesty’ before the November 26 deadline. But says that HMRC will still be somewhat disappointed with the amount of revenue generated.

He says: “It was initially thought billions could be recovered. It's now likely to be more like millions that will surface. It may even be a case of HMRC having overestimated how many people hold undisclosed offshore accounts.

“However, it looks like HMRC are about to embark on a second amnesty. They are already targeting another group of around 150 financial institutions in a bid to gain customer details. Given the existing legal rulings on the large banks it seems likely that HMRC will be successful in obtaining customer information relatively quickly. HMRC is determined to make examples of tax dodgers but will be looking to encourage them to disclose as they did with the Offshore Disclosure Initiative.”