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Tax Tip

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and a window of opportunity. 7/10/11

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced that it is to begin writing to UK residents and organisations that hold bank accounts with HSBC Geneva.

HMRC suspects the 6,000 individuals, companies, Trusts and other bodies involved may not have reported all of their income and gains, based on information it received last year. A window of opportunity is going to be offered for disclosures to be made, before investigations commence into those who do not come forward. This work will be led by HMRC’s new Offshore Co-ordination Unit, which is due to become operational at the end of this month.

Dave Hartnett, HMRC’s Permanent Secretary for Tax, has stressed that

‘This is not an amnesty. There are no special rates of penalty or interest for those who come forward voluntarily. This is an opportunity for those who have made errors in past returns to correct them.’

The Offshore Co-ordination Unit will be based in City Centre House in Birmingham. A 20 strong team, incorporating around 12 Inspectors, has been formed following an internal trawl process, with the Unit becoming part of the wider Specialist Investigations division. It is also understood that HMRC is putting a considerable amount of time and resources into this Unit and is excited about the potential revenue stream the Unit will create.

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