The New Disclosure Opportunity announced in the Budget will give accountholders the opportunity to disclose any unpaid tax or duties and settle debts. HM Revenue & Customs will pursue those who do not disclose voluntarily.
HMRC ran a tax amnesty in April 2007 which encouraged 45,000 offshore accountholders to disclose and pay up in return for a fixed 10 per cent penalty.
The Government is giving HMRC greater powers to name and shame serious corporate and individual tax defaulters and is targeting anti-avoidance schemes with a view to introducing tougher sanctions for the non-compliant. HMRC will be publishing an avoidance spotlight flagging schemes deemed to be ineffective and will challenge such schemes.
Government estimates suggest the total changes will raise over £1bn during 2009-10 to 2011-12 and protect a further £3bn of tax receipts a year by 2010-11 from tax evasion and avoidance.
AES International managing director Sam Instone says: “Anything that can be done to improve transparency and legitimacy should be seen as a good thing. The era of hiding your money is coming to an end.”