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Amnesty could fail to meet HMRC expectations

PricewaterhouseCoopers has warned that HM Revenue & Customs’ latest offshore tax amnesty may yield a modest return due to low take-up.

The deadline for offshore account holders to register with HMRC under the new disclosure opportunity expired on Jan- uary 4. The 2007 disclosure opp- ortunity cost £6m and raised around £400m in back taxes and interest.

HMRC expects the latest initiative to raise £500m over four years and says investigations into tax evaders who do not disclose will begin immediately.

PricewaterhouseCoopers tax expert Stephen Camm says take up will have been hindered by investors opting to disclose under HMRC’s Liechtenstein disclosure facility which offers more generous terms. The LDO only requires some account holders to repay taxes dating back 10 years compared with 20 under the NDO.

Camm says people will also attempt to claim non-domicile status to avoid the tax grab.

He says: “I think the Revenue will feel quite disappointed. They will have to do the hard work of investigating some of these people to return significantly more. Lots of people have calculated that having to pay for 20 years will wipe them out so they do not see a downside in trying to hold out.”

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