The Chartered Institute of Taxation is the latest body to call for the Government to launch a general disclosure facility for individuals who have been practicing tax evasion.
Accountants may be able to understand why the CIOT has made this call when you consider the confusion that arises when some people receive reduced penalties and others do not.
HMRC has already offered disclosure opportunities to electricians, medics, plumbers and teachers, and now online traders are being given the chance to put their income tax affairs in order. The CIOT thinks that other people could be sitting back and waiting for their turn to come.
Gary Ashford, who represents the Institute on the Revenue’s Compliance Reform Forum, thinks there is a danger that targeting different sectors with disclosure facilities will cause people who want to get their tax affairs in order to wonder whether their sector will get the opportunity to take advantage of a favourable disclosure facility.
Rather than launching campaigns targeting different sectors every few weeks, the Revenue should launch a national campaign inviting all taxpayers to get their tax in order.
The e-Markets Disclosure Facility, which launched on the 14th of March, gives online traders a three month window in which to own up to their unpaid taxes in return for reduced penalties. Traders who do not come forward run the risk of 100% penalties, plus possible criminal prosecution, if the Revenue is forced to investigate their activities after the Disclosure Facility ends.