HMRC amnesty lets wealthy taxpayers play catch-up

Higher rate taxpayers who have fallen behind with filing tax returns can come clean and pay what they owe under a new HM revenue & Customs amnesty.

Under the tax return initiative, anyone paying tax at 40% or 50%, including expats, who failed to submit a self assessment tax return for 2009-10 or earlier years can catch up by October 2.

Taxpayers need to file their late returns and pay any tax and national insurance due – and in return HMRC will reduce any penalties.

If they fail to submit late returns and pay tax, HMRC is threatening penalties of up to 100% of any tax due.

Marian Wilson, head of HMRC Campaigns, said: “This campaign is part of a wider HMRC initiative to provide support and guidance to the public on tax obligations and is aimed at people who fail to submit their tax returns on time and pay what they owe.

“The campaign provides a three-month opportunity for those who want to get their tax affairs up to date to come forward. Our aim is to make it easy for them to contact us and send in completed tax returns, putting their affairs in order.

“Penalties will be higher if we come and find people after the opportunity and some could face a criminal investigation. I urge people to come forward and disclose unpaid tax voluntarily.”

The first step for joining the amnesty is to call HMRC on 0845 601 8818 or registering online www.hmrc.gov.uk/campaigns/tri.htm

Amnesty campaigns have yielded nearly £510 million from voluntary disclosures and over £120 million from follow-up tax inquiries, including over 18,000 completed investigations.

HMRC also has 23 criminal cases underway, and one man, a plumber, was recently sentenced to jail.

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