The government has recently announced controversial plans making failure to declare offshore income a criminal offence.
It is usually the case that when prosecuting a taxpayer, HMRC needs to prove intent to deceive but the ‘offshore’ proposals do not include this requirement.
Put simply, this means that if the new proposals are made law, in extreme cases individuals could be imprisoned over their undisclosed overseas income, which compares harshly to the penalty regime they would suffer on undisclosed UK income which is genuinely overlooked.
Underpinning this strategy is a greater sharing of information between countries.
A consultation process is expected at the end of this year and will certainly meet plenty of severe opposition.