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HMRC pursue further taxes through voluntary disclosure

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Now that the offshore disclosure opportunity has closed, HMRC are continuing with their efforts to claim back unpaid taxes.

The scheme had provided the chance for anyone holding money or assets offshore to disclose them to HMRC in exchange for a reduced penalty.

It was applicable as long as HMRC had not made a request for individuals to declare their assets beforehand. Those failing to disclose would be subject to investigation (if caught) and could face penalties of 100% on top of the tax owed.

Speaking as the deadline for the scheme had passed, an HMRC spokesperson commented: "We have received a lot of last minute calls and letters today."

It is still unclear how many people chose to take advantage of the offshore opportunity. The 4th January deadline was for individuals to make HMRC aware of their intention to make a full disclosure.

Those who wished to do so in writing had until 31st January while online disclosures can be made until 12th March. The tax liability can extend back as far as twenty years and a ten per cent penalty will be levied.

It is worth remembering that holding money and assets offshore is not illegal, but individuals who receive an income from their offshore savings or investments have a duty to declare it on their UK tax return.

The future holds tougher penalties for those not declaring income from offshore assets with 200 per cent penalties being applied from next year.

However, it is not only offshore accounts that HRMC is targeting. They are now looking at uncovering unpaid tax sector by sector - starting with the medical sector.

Medical professionals have been offered a similar disclosure opportunity to those individuals with offshore assets. They will have until 31st March to make their disclosure. Such individuals will then have until 30th June to pay any tax due plus interest and penalties (capped at 10%).

However, anyone who does not make disclosure will face investigation by HMRC based on the records they hold in relation to their pay, and could be looking at a 100% tax penalty on top of the tax owed.

Launching this campaign, HMRC Director of Risk and Intelligence, Mike Wells said: "Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for people to come forward, make a full disclosure and benefit from the certainty of a reduced 10 per cent penalty that HMRC is making available to those who qualify for this opportunity."

Story by Crystal Umbrella. Voted by best umbrella company 2009 by readers of freelancesupermarket.com

© 2010 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Image: Photography and The Law by Byflickr

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