New UK Tax Advisers Legislation
England; December 2016 saw the inauguration of new rules targeting UK tax advisers.
The FA 2016, Section 162(1) and Schedule 20 (Appointed Day) Regulations 2016 (“the Legislation”) by Her Majesty’s Treasury; the initial plans for the Legislation were announced in the UK Budget 2015 and sets out the civil penalties for tax advisers who have had any part in enabling non-compliance and/or offshore tax evasion.
The Legislation is the first of its kind in the United Kingdom targeting tax advisers and is expected to have a severe impact on the use of artificial tax schemes, by increasing the taboo surrounding tax evasion by targeting those who are considered to encourage or facilitate tax evasion in any way.
“Enabler” is defined by the Legislation itself as “a person [who] has enabled another person to carry out offshore tax evasion or non-compliance where the person has encouraged, assisted or otherwise facilitated conduct by the other person that constitutes offshore tax evasion on non-compliance”.
The penalties shall apply to any individual or corporate that advises on tax planning – ranging from simple advisory services all the way to the physical movement of funds offshore, which enable the evasion of Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax or Inheritance Tax. Individuals and corporates found guilty may be liable for any part or all of the tax evaded; the minimum penalty faced will be £3,000.
The deadline of 30th September 2018, which aims to increase the number of voluntary disclosures, has been set for the correction of any incomplete UK tax filings,. Failing to correct these tax filings by this date will mean the application of harsher and stricter penalties on the offending parties.
Tax evasion has been described by Jane Ellison, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, as “a crime [which] as a government, we have led reform of the international tax system to root it out”.
Tackling tax evasion has seen Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs secure more than £130 billion since 2010.
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