To add to HMRC’s growing sector based disclosure campaigns, HMRC has now launched one for solicitors. The aim of the campaign is to enable any solicitor who may have unpaid tax liabilities to come forward and make a full and complete voluntary disclosure to HMRC. The campaign runs from 8 December 2014 to 9 June 2015, however individuals who wish to take advantage of this specific disclosure facility will have to notify HMRC of their intention by 9 March 2015 and submit the disclosure form with corresponding payment by 9 June 2015.
The disclosure campaign caters for circumstances involving unpaid tax liabilities due to innocent error, carelessness and deliberate understatement, but It should be noted that this facility does not provide an immunity from criminal prosecution for the tax offence and consequently it may be appropriate to submit any disclosure of a “deliberate” nature via the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF) as upon satisfactory registration to the LDF, a guaranteed upfront immunity from criminal prosecution for the tax offence is secured. Depending on the nature of the disclosure, it may also be possible to benefit from other terms of the LDF, including a reduced disclosure period and reduced penalties.
HMRC take a dim view of professional advisers including solicitors who commit tax fraud. As such, for individuals who do not come forward under this campaign, HMRC will utilise information from their super computer “Connect” system which has gathered together third party information, to instigate hard hitting investigations either under a civil regime: Contractual Disclosure Facility / Code of Practice 9 or in the most serious of cases they will launch a Criminal Investigation. It is therefore vital that any solicitor who believes they have not paid the correct amount of tax in the past consults with a professional tax adviser to ascertain the most appropriate disclosure strategy based on the specific facts of the case.
For any advice and assistance regarding unpaid taxes and making a disclosure to HMRC, please get in touch with your usual contact partner or use our enquiry form.