Offshore accounts due tax probe

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) has announced its support for new procedures to enhance clarity within the area of undisclosed income.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has targeted offshore bank accounts in particular, with a new tax administration initiative, which effectively allows people in Britain and Northern Ireland to "come clean" about income not previously mentioned with relative impunity.

John Cullinane, CIOT president, said: "This is clearly a complex area and we believe that there are a number of aspects to this initiative which will need very careful consideration. It is right that taxpayers who have failed properly to disclose their tax liabilities should be required to pay the tax that is properly due.

"Equally, it is very important that proper safeguards are in place to ensure that people do not end up paying tax which is not legally due, perhaps because of their domicile and residence status."

Mr Cullinane added: "HMRC are sending out a clear signal to those who have deliberately evaded tax on offshore accounts that this initiative offers a chance for them to come clean and bring matters up to date.

"If people do not take this opportunity, then they can expect to be faced with very significant penalties when HMRC commence their programme of investigating those holders of offshore accounts who have not come forward."

People with offshore accounts who are unsure of their next move are advised to pay a visit to their solicitor to ensure that they are not penalised in future.

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