HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has confirmed the details of a new disclosure initiative that will allow people with unpaid taxes linked to offshore accounts or assets to settle their tax liabilities at a favourable penalty rate.
Under the New Disclosure Opportunity (NDO) people who make a complete and accurate disclosure between 1 September 2009 and 12 March 2010 will qualify for a 10% penalty. Those who choose not to take this opportunity and are subsequently found to have undeclared tax liabilities are likely to face a 30% or higher penalty and also run an increased risk of criminal prosecution.
The Right Honourable Stephen Timms MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury said:
“I would urge anyone with offshore accounts holding untaxed income or gains to take advantage of this simple and straightforward scheme.
“Most offshore investors already pay the tax that the law requires and it’s only fair that everyone respects the rules.
“Tax evasion is not a victimless crime. It deprives our public services of vital funding and places an unfair burden on the honest majority of taxpayers.”
Dave Hartnett, HMRC Permanent Secretary for Tax, said:
“I know there are people who regret not taking advantage of our Offshore Disclosure Facility (ODF) in 2007 which focused primarily on the customers of five large banks. Now everybody who has not paid the tax they should in relation to offshore accounts or assets has this New Disclosure Opportunity to pay what they owe with penalties on more favourable terms than normal.
“The procedure is simple and straightforward. Customers will be able to contact us on paper or through a dedicated area of our website.