HMRC have been clamping down on offshore non-compliance for many years now. Having exchange agreements in place with many countries has assisted with data collection and with the estimated offshore tax gap at an all-time low, it appears that much of this unpaid tax relates to tax payer error rather than evasion.
Certainly most of the enquiries we have received recently from non-clients who have been sent letters stating that HMRC has information about unreported offshore income or gains, have been a result of innocent error or misunderstanding.
The discussion document explores how HMRC can help taxpayers get their offshore tax right first time. This includes considering what may cause taxpayers to make common errors, and the document offers some initial ideas on how the government might address those issues.
A key part of the approach involves making use of the offshore data HMRC receives to help people get their offshore tax right first time. This could be by personalising tax returns, removing opportunities to get it wrong, or by sharing data and contacting taxpayers, and their advisers, earlier to prevent non-compliance before it happens.
The government are asking for views on further ideas on how people may be helped to get their offshore compliance right. Given that this is such a complex area and difficult for the lay person to understand without the advice of a suitably qualified professional, we welcome this approach.
More details on the consultations and proposals from ‘Tax Day’ will be published in our news feed over the coming days, or you can email us at Tax@randall-payne.co.uk and we can arrange a call back to discuss anything in more detail.