Following new legislation passed on 3rd March 2010, HMRC can now publish the names and details of individuals and companies who are caught dodging tax.
From 1st April HMRC were able to publish those details.
Stephen Timms, financial secretary to the Treasury, said:-
“It is only right that people pay their fair share of tax, which supports vital public services. We know that law-abiding taxpayers will want to see the results of HMRC’s investigations into tax cheats.”
“This new approach should make people think again about trying to get away with tax fraud. As well as having to pay the tax, interest on the tax, plus penalties of up to 100 per cent of the tax lost, they also now risk being identified publicly.”
UK taxpayers had been given until 4th January 2010 to inform HMRC of their intentions to disclose any unpaid tax under The New Disclosure Opportunity (NDO).
However, it is believed that only around 10,000 taxpayers came forward.
Under the terms of the NDO, those who make full disclosures about offshore money will have to repay all the tax they owe plus a reduced penalty of 10% whilst those who do not disclose any outstanding tax liabilities will face penalties of between 30% and 100%. They also face the risk of criminal prosecution.
HMRC said that from 12th March it would launch investigations into anyone they believe to have underpaid tax using details on accounting they have obtained from more than 300 banks.
HMRC first ran a disclosure campaign in 2007 and was targeted at customers of the main High Street banks. This raised £450m from 45,000 people.
It may seem insensitive to name and shame tax evaders in this way but it will have a bigger impact than a financial penalty.
Kevin Kinsella of Kinsella Tax Investigations says:
“The publishing of such stories could well ruin many people and businesses, especially if they were trying to do business with their bankers.”
If you are currently the subject of an HMRC tax investigation or want to disclose any unpaid tax to HMRC then you need professional advice.
Call us now on 0800 471 4546 to reach a specialised tax adviser 24 hours a day.