In a new disclosure regime for offshore account holders called a New Disclosure Opportunity (NDO), HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) claims this is “a simple and straightforward scheme”, aimed at those with offshore accounts that hold untaxed income.

This is a great opportunity for offshore account holders, who should definitely take advantage of the benefits offered by the tax authority for honest and full disclosure of their tax liabilities.

While HMRC is offering a 10% rate for those who complete an accurate disclosure between 1 September 2009 and 12 March 2010, they will pursue vigorously those who do not declare their tax liabilities. The rate increases to at least 30 % for those who drag their heels.”

In a press release published today by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation, also advises that HMRC will dig a lot deeper if people do not disclose their income details or monies held in offshore accounts. HMRC has the legal power to seek information from banks, so this really is the time to disclose, or face a penalty.

As the UK‘s tax take is down, HMRC will be looking to pursue tax evasion in a more aggressive and structured way. This new initiative is a good use of HMRC’s resources. Tax evasion needs to be tackled in a consistent and constructive manner, and offering a favourable penalty rate is an olive branch from HMRC for offshore account holders

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