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Revenue warning offshore investors

Revenue and Customs has written to hundreds of offshore clients warning them against attempted tax evasion and pointing to IFAs’ responsib- ilities.

The letters, sent out to 500 clients, say offshore customers should review their tax situ-ations carefully before sub- mitting their self-assessment tax forms.

The recipients of the letters have 30 days to confirm the accuracy of their tax returns and have been told that any amendments received within that time will be dealt with favourably. Individuals are also being asked to explain why their offshore accounts do not generate a tax liability.

Solicitors Trowers and Hamlins say the letter will just make people consider more sophisticated tax planning.

Trowers and Hamlin senior solicitor, private client dep- artment Robert Brodrick says: “I would advise anyone with substantial amounts in own-domicile countries to consider using up gift allow-ances or setting up trusts.”

Vantis assistant director of investigations and enquiries Paul Noble says: “Over the last two years, there has been an impetus to try and plug a hole. I think that advisers need to be aware of their own respons-ibilities with clients holding money offshore, to avoid personal liability.”

HRMC spokesman Patrick O’Brien says: “Offshore accounts are legitimate investment vehicles as long as people meet their obligations to declare the interest arising in their tax returns. However, we very often find them associa- ted with serious tax evasion. Information is becoming available to us through various sources about the holders of such accounts.”

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