To Disclose or Not To Disclose

29 September 2017

In recent years, various ‘disclosure campaigns’ have been implemented by HM Revenue & Customs “HMRC”, providing individuals and businesses the opportunity to unveil any irregularities in relation to their income tax, PAYE/NIC or VAT affairs. The campaigns present an ability for individuals or businesses, who have either inadvertently underpaid tax or intentionally failed to declare earnings, to rectify the situation with HMRC, although you can make a voluntary disclosure to HMRC at any time without the need for a campaign to be in place.

HMRC offers preferable terms to individuals or businesses that come forth, such as reduced penalties and in many cases; they may forgo the penalty all together. On the contrary, if you do not disclose any irregularities and HMRC pursue an investigation, sizeable penalties can be imposed of up to 100% of the unpaid liability and up to 200% of any offshore related income. To benefit from these reduced penalties, the individual or business must meet certain conditions, such as ensuring full disclosure is made and all information is provided to HMRC surrounding the inconsistencies.

The cost to an individual or business for failing to disclosure such liabilities can exceed just penalties, you may face reputational damage if HMRC highlight your non-compliance publically. In addition, disclosing information to HMRC voluntarily is much less painful than an investigation driven by HMRC, by maintaining a good relationship and displaying an honest and fair approach, favourable settlement terms are achieved much quicker and easier.  

Current response times from HMRC are circa 7-8 months for dealing with voluntary disclosures, however, any disclosures we make are finalised significantly quicker than this due to AAB’s relationships within HMRC. AAB have the experience and expertise to assist in making sure the information you present to HMRC regarding your disclosure is complete and accurate, as well as ensuring the liability you owe is correct and any penalties that may otherwise be incurred are kept to a minimum, whilst preserving your record and relationship with HMRC. 

Unsure if you need to make a voluntary disclosure? Whether you are an individual, or business, AAB can help rectify your affairs. If you would like further information or assistance in regard to making a voluntary disclosure, please do not hesitate to contact Charlotte Stewart (charlotte.stewart@aab.uk) or your usual AAB contact.

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