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Last call for tax amnesty

Friday deadline looms but only 8,000 offshore account holders have so far come forward to declare unpaid tax.

Offshore investors are being urged to take up the Revenue’s tax amnesty by the June 22 deadline, with only 8,000 coming forward so far.

Accountholders who fail to notify HM Revenue & Customs of unpaid tax by this Friday could face investigation and a penalty of up to 100 per cent of the outstanding tax.

HMRC wrote to 200,000 individuals about the tax amnesty after receiving details of offshore accounts from major UK banks under EU legislation.

Those who declare unpaid tax will be spared a full investigation but must pay a penalty of 10 per cent, along with tax and interest due, by November 26.

Grant Thornton tax investigations partner Paul Roberts has concerns over how few people have come forward and believes the initiative will be their last chance.

He says: “There have been a host of crackdowns and proposals in the past months which point toward an increasingly tougher stance on unpaid tax being taken by the taxman.

“It is vitally important that people take advantage because the penalties for those that get caught after the amnesty ends, even if they believe themselves to be innocent, will be severe.”

HMRC will launch its clampdown on undisclosed tax liabilities on July 9.

Chiltern head of tax investigations Steve Besford says: “If additional tax is found to be due as a result of these enquiries, HMRC will seek considerably higher penalties than the 10 per cent on offer under the amnesty and may even launch criminal investigations.”


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