Criminal investigations launched following tax amnesties

Accountants may be interested to learn that HMRC recently announced it has launched 16 new criminal investigations following two recent tax amnesties. This news may prompt owners of small businesses to contact tax accountants for advice.

Last year, HMRC launched their Tax Health Plan aimed at people in the medical profession. 1,500 people came forward and made voluntary disclosures which brought in a total of £10 million. Six criminal investigations have also been launched and a further 500 cases are being looked into.

More than 50,000 people came forward under the Offshore Disclosure Facility and related New Disclosure Opportunity and the Revenue raked in £485 million from those voluntary disclosures. Ten criminal investigations are now underway following that tax amnesty.

HMRC appears keen to use tax amnesties as a means of encouraging people to come forward and declare previously unpaid taxes. In recent months, we have seen an amnesty for plumbers and associated tradesmen whilst the latest sector to come under the spotlight is the restaurant trade. People who take advantage of tax amnesties still have to pay a penalty on previously undeclared income but it’s a lot less than the 100% the Revenue usually seeks.

In related news, HMRC is preparing to name and shame people guilty of tax evasion. Offenders will find their name included in an online register which can be viewed by everybody.

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