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Accountants’ tax “amnesty” – I was joking, you know!

When I wrote about the Tax Health Plan proposed by HMRC, and asked which profession might be next, I was joking when I added accountants to my list; really I was. My idle fantasy might be about to come true as it is reported “Accountants could be next for tax amnesty”. Of course the original report was in the Mail, so a pinch of salt may be needed. Flattered though I am that Dave Hartnett might be one of my loyal readers, I really do not believe that accountants, tax advisers, bookkeepers or any allied … Continue Reading

Be responsible and pay your tax

Last Spring I wrote a piece entitled “Render unto Caesar…” which pretty much sets out my view concerning tax avoidance and those who are reluctant to pay tax. For the record I reiterate that I have no objection to people taking sensible uncomplicated steps to pay less tax. That is no different from choosing to fill your car with petrol, diesel or gas at a particular establishment which charges a little less than the one down the road. Daily essentials everyone buys on price because the value is the same. Complicated and artificial tax avoidance schemes really have … Continue Reading

HMRC tackles the medical profession with the Tax Health Plan

We professionals in the tax business are fond of offering tax health checks to prospective clients, but now we should be offering health checks to medical professionals, who are the target of HMRC’s latest campaign to collect tax from perceived miscreants. I am sure the Revenue is not suggesting that all in the health business are into dodgy dealing and falsifying their tax returns, but presumably there must be a supposition that “extras” such as giving references to patients, signing passport applications and getting payments from pharmaceutical companies slip through into doctors’ pockets unnoticed by their accountants or tax advisers. … Continue Reading

More on catching the tax dodgers

It was announced last month that HMRC’s New Disclosure Opportunity deadline for those with undeclared offshore assets to come clean has been extended from 30th November 2009 to 4th January 2010. This is no doubt because rather fewer delinquent “customers” have come forward than Permanent Secretary for Tax Dave Hartnett hoped, despite the prospect of much more serious penalties for those who are caught or come forward later.HMRC has also revamped its process for receiving anonymous tip-offs concerning tax evaders, details of which are here. To be truly anonymous, one would suppose that many would baulk … Continue Reading

Dodging the Excise Men – encouraging a tax evasion society

In my business we frown upon tax evasion. It is our duty to uphold the law through helping our clients in their self assessment of their income, profits and their company accounts. We have to tread a firmer line than Joe or Jo Public, though unrepresented taxpayers may make mistakes in the Revenue’s favour as well as their own. It is my experience that they do.This week we have seen further hikes in taxation, principally through National Insurance and more obviously the return to 17.5% VAT. Personal Allowances are frozen for next year, so there will be some … Continue Reading

Stirring the pot

I watched with interest the interview on the Accountancy Age website with Dave Hartnett, Permanent Secretary for Tax about the New Disclosure Opportunity (NDO). To quote HMRC, “the NDO will allow people with unpaid taxes linked to offshore accounts or assets to settle their tax liabilities at a favourable penalty rate. It will run from the 1st Sept 2009 until 12 March 2010.If you have unpaid tax linked to an offshore account or asset to declare, to benefit from the terms of NDO you will need to notify us AND disclose (tell us the details, … Continue Reading

New tax amnesty and old habits

We are starting to hear a little more about the new tax amnesty in the UK, called by HM Revenue & Customs the “New Disclosure Opportunity (NDO),” which follows on from the 2007 amnesty. Now we know that since the original amnesty, which followed on from HMRC’s victory in the Courts over the UK banks defending unsuccessfully their Channel Island branch customers, HMRC has come by a lot more information. Indeed I can infer from what I have heard on the grapevine that the acquisition of information concerning the Lichtenstein accounts has borne fruit, and will continue to … Continue Reading

Blearsy-eyed!

We read here that Hazel Blears is to pay £13,332 on the sale of a second home. How is she going to do this? Presumably her accountants or tax advisers got the documentation right so that she successfully avoided a liability by making the appropriate election. The only way she can get HMRC to accept the money is by saying she made an error or worse, deliberately misled them. She will not be happy if they charge interest and penalties in addition to the CGT.Perhaps she thinks the way to pay this voluntary tax is to just … Continue Reading

Property flipping and knee jerk reactions

I must admit that the publicity about some Members of Parliament with two or more residences changing their designated main residence to one they are about to sell has me a little concerned because of all the publicity around it, and because of the public’s ire. The principal residence capital gains exemption is there for good reason, and whilst as with any rule it might be possible to exploit it to one’s advantage, the main purpose of electing as to which is the main residence is actually to prevent hardship or difficulty. Often people acquire a second property through the … Continue Reading

What’s cooking with HMRC, MPs and networking?

It was interesting to meet HMRC representatives at the Essex Branch CIOT/ATT meeting last week, and they seemed a pleasant and friendly bunch. However, of the contingent of six (v attendance of only about 25 members) a couple had come all the way from Yorkshire to Chelmsford. I could not quite see how this was cost-effective.I took the trouble to make notes, but cannot see on re-reading them that I really learned very much. One lady was able to assure us that they were working hard to improve the website, including the deplorable search function (generally it is … Continue Reading