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Do you have offshore assets?

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We are living in changing times in the tax world. Following the reporting of several high profile cases in the press, tax planning that was once considered unexceptional is now seen as morally unacceptable tax avoidance. The spotlight has turned on those with offshore assets so, if this applies to you or you are either non-resident or non-domiciled and have an interest in an offshore trust, read on.

It’s so easy for tax authorities to exchange information across the globe that it’s more likely than ever that offshore income and gains will be brought to HMRC’s attention. HMRC themselves are putting more and more resources into looking at taxpayers’ overseas affairs. This is from both the perspective of UK taxpayers with overseas income and gains, and non-resident and/or non-domiciled individuals, trusts or companies with UK income, gains and assets.

The time limits which allow HMRC to look at old tax years in respect of offshore matters have been extended recently and penalties have increased. In some cases, HMRC can charge a penalty of up to 200% of the tax on any under declared income or gains, and taxpayers who’ve deliberately avoided tax, can face criminal convictions. HMRC also publish the names of deliberate defaulters on their website and in press releases.

So, what should you do? If you are a taxpayer, it’s imperative that you get your overseas tax affairs in order. If at all possible, inform HMRC of anything you’ve forgotten to report before HMRC finds out about it. Penalties are always significantly lower for coming clean without being prompted.

HMRC are currently issuing ‘nudge letters’ to taxpayers they believe have offshore income or gains which they’ve not reported and, if you get one of these, it’s important that you take tax advice without delay, even if you think you’ve nothing further to report. In any event, if you’ve offshore assets (even if they are held in an overseas company) or have made an offshore trust or received a payment or benefit from an offshore trust or if you are a non-dom with assets in the UK, it may be a good time to have your tax affairs reviewed by a specialist to make sure that you’ve reported what you should.

Need help?

For more information on how we can help with UK tax on offshore matters, please speak to your usual Larking Gowen contact.

Call 0330 024 0888 or email


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