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“Following the close of the offshore facility (also known as the tax indemnity) which expired on 22 June 2007, HMRC let it be known they plan to investigate some 3,500 cases a month arising from the non-disclosure of offshore accounts if the individuals concerned have not taken advantage of the amnesty to come forward.

HMRC offered a 10% penalty charge to anybody who made an early disclosure but some accountants, me amongst them, thought that this wasn’t such a good idea.

HMRC have now threatened to charge the 100% penalty and have also thrown in the prospect of a criminal prosecution.

This is nothing new. No accountant worth his salt would settle a case on a 100% penalty, even the most serious of cases. Let me tell you, in 30 years I have never settled one at 100%. The worst I have done is 50% and that was an extremely serious case that was run before the Special Commissioners. HMRC are always threatening, threatening, threatening to do this, to do that, but I personally think that 3,500 cases being investigated per month is beyond their ability. I was at a seminar recently when the boss of the SOCA (Serious Organised Crime Agency) confessed that they didn’t have enough people to investigate all the information they had or were being given. They have 8,000 people working for them and I suggested they needed nearer 16,000 to 20,000 and he agreed.

So there you are, you can pass all the laws, you can ask people to do this, to do that, and at the end of the day they mean very little unless you have the staff to enforce the laws.

Further, what do you do if you are the subject of an investigation? Well you simply ring me, Kevin Kinsella Jnr and I will deal with everything, you don’t even have to see anyone from the Revenue, I can deal with it all. So there you are, you have my number, ring me!”

 

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