KinsellaTax wonder how much income has been brought in my extending the 5 week deadline to its tax amnesty for taxpayers who underpaid tax on income in offshore bank accounts.


Kinsellas believe that the extension undermined the credibility of the tough stance the Revenue was supposed to show.


The first amnesty, in 2007 was expected to bring in billions of pounds in lost revenue but in fact only brought in £400 million which was very tiny compared to overall estimates that HMRC forecast.


The second amnesty, which Kinsellas believe brought in even less, so both of these procedures brought in a lot less money than the Revenue thought they would.


Not enough time was given to the banks to inform their customers that their details had been disclosed to HMRC.


As a result there was a worryingly low take-up of the incentive. After the 2007 amnesty not one single taxpayer was prosecuted and frankly if HMRC is serious about going after non-compliance taxpayers, why on earth extend the deadline?


This is at a time when HMRC are actually cutting back staff.


They are already finding they are behind by some 6 – 8 weeks in dealing with self-assessments and other matters. Any accountant will tell you that delays now have grown enormously over the last 2 years and yet they are still cutting back on staff when they need people to do the work.


They are also letting very experienced Inspectors of Taxes retire early.


Again, what sort of message is this to the general public if they are truly serious about going for non payers?


No doubt some taxpayers made enquiries as to see whether they qualify for the more generous Lichtenstein Disclosure Facility known as LDF. If they do then they have much longer to get their disclosure right and may significantly reduce the amount of tax they have to pay.


So whilst these different variations of amnesties exist, what effect do they have on the taxpayers?!


But as with the Revenue, only time will tell.


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