Taking Account

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HM Revenue and Customs - Name and shame provisions

June 2009 Tax Alert

Within the next 18 months, HMRC will be regularly publishing lists of taxpayers who have deliberately included errors on their tax returns leading to a tax loss of more than £25,000.

Taxpayers will be affected by these provisions if:

1. Errors which result in an underpayment of taxes are made deliberately. This would seem to excuse innocent errors or mistakes.

2. Errors are discovered which understate income or taxable gains, or which overstate claims or losses. This will include VAT wrongdoings.

3. The £25,000 figure of 'potential lost revenue' will cover the amount from one investigation but that means all years under investigation and all relevant taxes.

It is expected to be in force for failures and periods from 1 April 2010. Because of this it is unlikely that we will see any names published before the first quarter of 2011.

No details of taxpayers who committed defaults prior to the effective date will be published.

Details that will be published are:

  • name and address
  • trade, profession or sector
  • amount of tax, interest and penalties
  • the period covered.

This ‘Naming and Publishing’ process is obviously aimed at encouraging full and proper disclosure to H M Revenue & Customs. No doubt the lists will be scoured by national and regional press for interesting names.

Hilton Sharp & Clarke