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What happens in the Worldwide Disclosure Facility?

Answer:

This can be a very complicated process and it is our opinion that 90 days is a challenge in all but the simplest cases. The deadline is not legally enforceable but most cases we see involve single investments and it is possible to meet the deadline. Where things are more complex HMRC are flexible in allowing further time.

In addition to calculating the figures HMRC expect people to self-assess their behaviour in relation to their tax affairs and then work out if they must pay additional penalties due to the jurisdiction in which their assets were held. If the assets were held in a number of different jurisdictions then each has to be considered separately.

These decisions require a detailed understanding of the tax law and penalties and it is our view that for HMRC to ask the average taxpayer to do this is unfair as it could result in someone paying more tax and penalties than is necessary.

A joint disclosure cannot be made under the Worldwide Disclosure Facility so, if there are say a husband and wife, each will have to make a separate disclosure, and if there were also issues with a company they owned, a separate disclosure should be made by the company.

HMRC have stated that if people get their disclosure wrong then they will impose increased penalties and if there are material errors, consider them for prosecution. It should be noted that there is no guarantee of not being prosecuted with regards to the Worldwide Disclosure Facility but it is not expected that HMRC will prosecute anyone who makes a full and correct disclosure.

There are no real advantages of the Worldwide Disclosure Facility over the Contractual Disclosure Facility (where there is a guarantee from HMRC of not prosecuting for tax frauds admitted at the start of the process) in terms of reduction in penalties or time periods for assessment, and therefore the Contractual Disclosure Facility may be a better option for disclosures where matters are more complicated.

Read more about the Worldwide Disclosure Facility.

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Tax Investigation Specialist
Scott Gilbert, Partner and Tax Investigation Specialist

"We understand that people sometimes make mistakes in their dealings with HMRC and that HMRC make mistakes in dealing with taxpayers. Many people do not know how to deal with HMRC or who to turn to for help resolve the tax dispute.

Our firm of tax advisors specialise in resolving people's problems with HMRC. We have extensive expertise in dealing with all forms of tax investigations and tax disputes as well as with taking matters to the Tax Tribunal where agreement cannot be reached.

We deal both directly with the individual who is under enquiry and also work with many firms of accountants supporting them in dealing with HMRC disputes and advising them on how to handle HRMC to get the best result.

The fact is that proper management of HMRC is the best way of reducing the tax, interest and penalty as well as the time taken in resolving any tax dispute.

Our expert team are none judgemental and rigorously defend your position within the scope and parameter of the law. We take control and manage the process to minimise the interruptions that any form of tax investigation causes to an individual's life and business."

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