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LDF tax amnesty criticisms are ‘balderdash’

28th Jul 2010
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HMRC hits back at claims of ‘disappointing’ response to Liechtenstein Disclosure Opportunity.

Claims that the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF) has been a failure are ‘balderdash’, said a HMRC spokesperson today.

Just 419 taxpayers registered for the LDF between 1 September 2009 – 31 March 2010, compared to 10,000 who registered for the New Disclosure Opportunity – a disappointing outcome for HMRC, according to commercial tax and law firm McGrigors.

The firm said it was yet another example of poor responses to HMRC disclosure initiatives, following news that only about 1,500 medical professionals had registered for a special tax amnesty – out of 30,000 believed to have undisclosed tax liabilities.

“There has been a poor response to recent HMRC disclosure initiatives, and this is no exception,” said Phil Berwick, director of tax investigations at McGrigors. “Under the LDF, Liechtenstein banks and financial intermediaries will soon be writing to their UK customers, but HMRC could take a pro-active stance to encourage taxpayers with funds in other jurisdictions to come forward.”

The firm blamed a lack of advertising or promotion of the LDF by HMRC, who they say left responsibility for spreading the word about it to professional advisers.

A spokesperson for HMRC told AccountingWEB today: “HMRC is very pleased with the number of people who have so far voluntarily registered for LDF and that the number doing so is steadily increasing. Unlike other short term disclosure opportunities, registration for LDF is available until 2015.

“The legislation doesn’t even take effect in Liechtenstein until 1 September so it’s ridiculous to draw conclusions at this stage. LDF is going super well, any suggestions otherwise is balderdash”.


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