The Guardian has reported this morning that:
‘Government plans to make offshore tax evasion a criminal offence even when there is no proof of intention to break the law have been softened under pressure from lawyers and tax experts.’
The Treasury’s draft finance bill, published on Wednesday, reveals that the trigger for prosecution will be a tax loss to HMRC of at least £25,000 a year – five times the original proposed threshold.
And as they note:
‘Jon Preshaw, chair of CIOT’s management of taxes subcommittee, said: “This increase in the proposed threshold from £5,000 to £25,000 is in line with what CIOT called for in our representations to the government, and should ensure that in most circumstances ordinary taxpayers making unwitting mistakes are not caught up in this new offence.”’
Hang on a minute! He thinks ‘ordinary taxpayers’ make mistakes on income of £50,000 or more a year that they happen to have offshore and think is of no interest to HMRC? What planet do these tax advisers live on when that’s likely to imply more than £1 million in an offshore account right now?
By: Richard Murphy