HMRC offer solicitors opportunity to sort out their tax affairs

HMRC have announced a campaign for solicitors to put their tax affairs in order. The Solicitors’ Tax Campaign is an opportunity open to those working within the legal profession as solicitors with undisclosed taxes and duties. It is not open to barristers.

Solicitors can benefit from the terms offered under the opportunity by notifying their intention to disclose by 9 March 2015 and have until 9 June 2015 to disclose and pay the liabilities due. In return HMRC offer the following benefits to solicitors:

  • The solicitor can propose the penalty they believe they should pay based on their actions;and
  • The solicitor can arrange time to pay  if they cannot immediately settle in full  and their circumstances warrant it;

The disclosure may cover:

  • The solicitor’s own tax affairs
  • a disclosure on behalf of someone else (for example, if the solicitor is a personal representative of a deceased person)
  • a company (if the solicitor is a company director or company secretary)

HMRC will risk assess the disclosures and may not accept cases where they suspect/establish that:

  • the disclosure is materially incorrect or incomplete;
  • HMRC had notified their intention to open an enquiry or compliance check before the Solicitors’ Tax Campaign opportunity opened on 8 December 2014;
  • HMRC believes the money that is the subject of the disclosure is the proceeds of serious organised crime for example VAT fraud, VAT bogus registration fraud, organised tax credit fraud and instance where there is wider criminality (such as an ongoing police investigation).

A key consideration will be the behaviour leading to the unpaid taxes as this determines the years that need to be disclosed and the penalty payable. In some situations, it may be appropriate to use an alternative route to regularise the individual’s affairs, to limit their exposure or seek immunity from prosecution.

For further details on The Solicitors’ Tax Campaign please call the TaxDesk on 0845 4900 509 and ask to speak to John Hood.