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Offshore disclosure deadline nears

Offshore disclosure deadline nears

Category: Offshore savings

Updated: 12/11/2009
First Published: 12/11/2009

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.
Offshore account holders have been warned they have until 30 November to inform HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) of their intention to disclose their unpaid taxes linked to offshore assets or else face a strict penalty and possibly criminal prosecution.

Those who take the opportunity to disclose their offshore tax affairs under the New Disclosure Opportunity (NDO) will qualify for a 10% penalty of the tax owed.

However, for anyone who fails to come forward, the minimum penalty will be 30%, with criminal proceedings also a possibility.

Over 300 banks and financial institutions have been asked to hand over details of their customers' offshore accounts for the tax authorities to scrutinise.

"In some extreme cases, individuals could receive penalties of over 70% of the tax due," warned Paul Roberts, head of tax investigations at Grant Thornton. "HMRC is hardening their approach and we are likely to see a number of high-profile criminal prosecutions to act as a deterrent to those trying to avoid paying the correct amount of tax.

"Whatever the reasons for not disclosing previously, with mounting pressure being placed on offshore jurisdictions, potential disclosures are advised to come forward sooner rather than later, and certainly before the end of November," he added.

After registration, the submission deadline for full paper disclosures of any liability is 31 January 2010 and for online disclosures is 12 March 2010.

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