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Offshore Tax Evasion & Avoidance

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Offshore Tax Evasion, Avoidance
& Disclosure Lawyers

Home → Tax Investigations → Offshore Tax Evasion & Avoidance

For years (ever since the first success in getting UK account holder details from the Irish banks) offshore tax evasion and disclosure has been a major focus for HMRC and has steadily been developed by them.

There have been a number of different disclosure facilities offering various time-limited, one-off opportunities to disclose offshore tax evasion and pay much lower penalties. Some of the disclosure facilities also guaranteed immunity or were likely to avoid criminal prosecution for tax fraud.

The Offshore Disclosure Facility (ODF), was followed by the Offshore New Disclosure Facility, then the significant Lichtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF), and the Crown Dependencies Disclosure Facilities (CDDF regarding Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man).

Whilst directed at undeclared income from offshore accounts (and inevitably also offshore assets and the funding of them – often from undeclared onshore UK income), these were a very useful vehicle for voluntary disclosure of UK tax irregularities with very low penalties and avoidance of criminal investigation, prosecution or sanction.

These have now closed and a final interim scheme will run until April 2017 but is likely to have much less attractive penalties and will not provide immunity from prosecution.

From September 2017 HMRC will start to receive details on UK taxpayers from over 90 countries worldwide under the Common Reporting Standards (CRS) automatic financial information exchange. In addition to straightforward evidence of offshore income and assets, this will be fed into HMRC’s powerful data analysis software (CONNECT) which also accesses extensive other data sources.

HMRC plans to increase penalties for using the most secretive jurisdictions to circumvent CRS, to offer enhanced financial incentives to whistleblowers, to impose penalties on those who enable evasion, and publicly name & shame all of the above.

HMRC previously planned to introduce a strict liability criminal offence of failing to declare offshore income and gains. This would mean that they would not have to prove guilty knowledge of the taxpayer. There is always a chance that these plans could be resurrected in the future.

Get in touch

If you are accused of being involved in offshore tax evasion, or you are concerned you may be accused of this in the future, contact one of our offshore tax evasion and avoidance lawyers, for a confidential discussion about your options and the best way to proceed.

Solicitor or Accountant?

If you are considering seeking help from an accountant or a solicitor, it is important be aware that information you provide to your solicitor has an elevated status called legal professional privilege.

Your accountant is unable to provide this protection, though they may be able to gain it if they are instructed by a solicitor. If there is an assessment of the tax due and a the need for a report to be prepared regarding your tax affairs, we can instruct an accountant on your behalf.

Who Can Help You?

Jonathan Wright

Partner

Mark Wilson, Partner at Richard Nelson LLP

Mark Wilson

Partner

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What we do...

We have experience of all every type of tax investigation, including offshore tax evasion and avoidance investigations. We know how to resolve these investigations as quickly as possible, at the same time protecting your liberty, privacy and reputation, and restricting the financial consequences you may face.

  • We will respond immediately to dawn raids, arrests and interviews under caution;
  • Quickly arrange advice and assistance for you, including meeting as appropriate, for all aspects of tax investigation;
  • Utilise our close working relationships with independent tax consultants, forensic tax accountants, and specialist tax barristers, involving them in your case when necessary;
  • Help you to avoid a HMRC criminal investigation if one has not already begun, by an appropriate and carefully managed disclosure to HMRC where necessary;
  • Minimise the effects of an ongoing tax fraud investigation and endeavour to convert it to a civil solution;
  • Robustly defend a tax fraud prosecution, which includes challenging Restraint Orders and Confiscation proceedings;
  • Act for taxpayers anywhere in England and Wales, including London (but not at London prices).

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