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HMRC Voluntary Disclosure & HMRC Campaigns

HMRC campaigns are run to encourage those that have not been efficient in sorting out their taxes to come forward and deal with their taxes now. In return HMRC have stated that they will be lenient on those who come forward and voluntarily disclose their financial information on undeclared earnings or additional income.

Our specialist Tax Solicitors and Barristers deliver expert technical knowledge, strong negotiation skills and respected advice, which can make a pronounced difference to eventual tax penalties, charges and liability.  Our lawyers specialises in submitting disclosure reports and negotiating potential penalties with HMRC. We provide urgent advice and representation to clients from our unique expert team of established Tax and Duties specialist solicitors and barristers with a proven track record of delivering authoritative results. Just call us on 0207 1830 529, or email contact@lexlaw.co.uk.

What are HMRC Campaigns?

HMRC campaigns encourage taxpayers that have undeclared income to voluntarily disclose their undeclared earnings or additional incomeIn return, HMRC will usually be more lenient when it comes to potential penalties. on those who come forward and voluntarily disclose their financial information on

HMRC campaigns commenced with the offshore disclosure facility in 2007 to allow those with off-shore savings to disclose to HMRC their previously undeclared income. HMRC estimates that since 2007, over £610 million has been recovered from voluntary disclosure.

The HMRC campaign disclosure facility is one means to disclose undeclared income to HMRC. If disclosure cannot be made under a current open campaign, HMRC encourages you to make a voluntary disclosure using the Digital Disclosure Service (DDS).

Who does a HMRC campaign target?

HMRC regularly launch campaigns to enable those who are a part of a particular industry to come forward and disclose their financial information and settle their tax liabilities. Campaigns have targeted business sectors such as electricians, plumbers, doctors, solicitors and e-traders in the past. HMRC campaigns have also focused on types of investment such as second homes and assets offshore. HMRC have also motivated those with compliance failures such as outstanding sel-assessment or VAT returns to make a voluntary disclosure.

What are HMRC campaigns for?

According to HMRC, campaigns are intended to:

What are the benefits of voluntary disclosure?

The campaigns have been described as a tax penalty amnesty and HMRC believe that this incentive will encourage people to sort out their tax matters whilst avoiding harsh penalties. HMRC encourage early disclosure to minimise penalties, interest and a prevent a potential investigation.

HMRC state that during these campaigns, if people do not come forward within the time specified then the penalties would be a lot harsher if it is later discovered that their earnings or financial information was not disclosed.

HMRC have an array of means to find non-compliant taxpayers using the Connect software, information from third parties and the Land Registry (amongst others). Therefore, it is important to take professional legal advice if you have undisclosed income covering a number of years.

Current HMRC Campaigns

As of February 2018, there are 2 campaigns currently open. Even if an active campaign does not cover your tax position, then you can still make a voluntary disclosure Digital Disclosure Service (DDS).

It is recommended that professional legal advice is sought when making a voluntary disclosure to HMRC. Our team specialises in submitting disclosure reports and negotiating potential penalties with the tax authorities.

Credit Card Sales Campaign

The Card Transaction campaign is aimed at individuals or businesses who accept debit or credit card payments and offers those that have not declared all their UK income and tax liabilities to HMRC to make a voluntary disclosure.

HMRC can identify businesses that have not paid all the tax that they owe as they hold details of debit and credit card payments made to UK traders and businesses.

To ensure lower potential penalties, a taxpayer should notify HMRC and then make a disclosure and pay the tax within 90 days. The taxpayer must self-assess the tax and any penalties.. HMRC may allow time to pay, depending on circumstances.

We have extensive experience in notifying HMRC and make disclosures on behalf of our clients.

Let Property Campaign

According to HMRC, The Let Property Campaign targets the residential property letting market and offers a chance for landlords letting out property in the UK and abroad to get up to date or put right any errors they have made and then remain compliant. Thus far, over 9,500 landlords have taken the opportunity to bring their tax affairs up to date.

The Let Property Campaign allows all residential property landlords (single property; multiple property owners; student or workforce landlords and holiday home landlords- amongst others) to disclose undeclared rental income. However, this campaign is not open to companies, trusts or individuals letting out commercial properties.

The campaign opened in 2013 and although it was intended to run 18 months, as of February 2018, the campaign remains open.

We have extensive experience in notifying HMRC and make disclosures on behalf of our clients.

Worldwide Disclosure Facility (WDF)

HMRC’s Worldwide Disclosure Facility opened as a final opportunity for taxpayers to ensure their tax affairs are correct before new tougher HMRC sanctions come into force on 30 September 2018. On this date, the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) will be effective. This is an international initiative involving over 100 countries committing to exchange information on a multilateral basis to significantly increase international tax transparency and toughen the approach to offshore non-compliance.

Any UK or non-resident person wanting to disclose a UK tax liability relating wholly or partly to an offshore issue can avail themselves of the facility. According to HMRC, offshore issues include unpaid or omitted tax on:

If HMRC knows or suspects that assets included in your disclosure are made up of criminal property, then they have the discretion to refuse the application to participate in the scheme.

WDF disclosure is a voluntary facility and as such, penalties are lower than if HMRC had conducted a formal enquiry.

It is essential to contact our Tax team to discuss any potential disclosure. Taxpayers can notify HMRC using the Digital Disclosure Service (DDS). However, it is important to seek advice before this because individual circumstances should be reviewed by professionals prior to registration. We have particular expertise in applying the eligibility criteria for the facility and can provide advice on whether you are eligible to participate and the entire disclosure process in the Worldwide Disclosure Facility.

Past HMRC Campaigns

Second Incomes Campaign

HMRC’s Second Incomes Campaign targeted employees in the UK who have undeclared self-employed or freelance income. This closed on 7 August 2017.

Wider Impact Campaign

HMRC have previously launched campaigns for off shore savers, doctors, electricians and plumbers to come forward and disclose their financial information voluntarily. The ‘wider impact campaign’ was for anyone who had not previously declared their earnings or relevant financial information. They had the opportunity to do so regardless of the industry they are in, and in return HMRC have stated that they were lenient when considering the penalties.

Direct Selling Campaign

HMRC targeted those involved in “direct selling”. HMRC state direct selling “may involve demonstrating a product in a customers’ home, sometimes at a party, or you might sell door to door, using catalogues. You might only sell to your friends and relatives. As a direct seller you will usually take commission on the sales you make. You may be involved in direct selling as a full time business, to top up your income from another job or to fit around your caring commitments”.

Other Past Campaigns

HMRC voluntary disclosure campaigns have targeted the following sectors:

Will HMRC be lenient to taxpayers making a voluntary disclosure?

Under normal circumstances if HMRC investigate your tax matters and find that you have not paid the amount of tax that you were meant to or that you have failed to disclose financial information then HMRC can penalise you in a number of ways, which could include imposing a penalty of up to 100% of your tax liability or even prosecuting you.

HMRC work out the penalties using various factors, including calculating the amount of potential lost revenue, determining ‘behaviour’ of the tax payer, deciding whether the disclosure was prompted or unprompted and considering the HMRC penalty ranges. For example is someone deliberately concealed financial information from HMRC and HMRC prompted them to provide the information then the person could face penalties of between 50% – 100% of the tax liability.

The advantage of the ‘wider impact campaign’ or a targeted campaign are that HMRC would be willing to significantly reduce the penalties and in some cases may even waive the penalties altogether. There may also be some instances where the HMRC decide not to prosecute those who have failed to disclose information previously, due to the fact that the disclosure made during the campaign was unprompted.

Our solicitors have the specialist knowledge and understanding when negotiating penalties with the HMRC. We do this by making detailed representations on your behalf to HMRC specifying any mitigating circumstances and explaining why your tax penalties are excessive.

Should you make a voluntary disclosure?

It is important to note that HMRC exercise their discretion when reducing or waiving penalties and consider each case separately. HMRC have by their own admission stated that where there are systematic fraudulent matters they will not hesitate to commence prosecution even if the disclosure of the information came as a result of a campaign. Although it is safe to assume that if you disclose your financial information voluntarily then the HMRC are likely to be more lenient when deciding what penalties to impose.

If you are under the impression that you should not disclose financial information because you have ‘got away with it’, then the advice would be to disclose the information now rather than later or never, regardless of which industry you belong to. This is due to the fact that HMRC are likely to impose harsher penalties if they later discover that you haven’t disclosed the information.

If you find yourself in a position where you need to disclose elements of your earnings or elements of your financial information for previous years then you should contact us as we work with specialist tax advisers who will be able to establish your tax liability. Our specialist solicitors are subsequently able to robustly negotiate the terms of any tax settlement with HMRC. Alternatively, we are able to work with your accountant to ensure that collectively we are able to obtain the best possible outcome for you.

Disclosures outside current campaigns: HMRC Digital Disclosure Service

If you do not qualify for a current campaign or the Worldwide Disclosure Facility, HMRC encourages taxpayers to use the Digital Disclosure Service (DDS) or to call the voluntary disclosure helpline on 0300 1231078.

This facility allows people to declare the right amount of tax on:

Typically, if a full and frank disclosure of unpaid liabilities is made, HMRC will charge a lower penalty than if they had found out about the liabilities through an enquiry, investigation or compliance check.

It is recommended that professional legal advice is sought when making a voluntary disclosure to HMRC. Our team specialises in submitting disclosure reports and negotiating potential penalties with the tax authorities.

Expert City of London Tax Disclosure Lawyers

If you need advice on undeclared income, voluntary disclosure, the Worldwide Disclosure Facility or HMRC campaigns advice, we are available to aid you at every stage of the HMRC disclosure and negotiation process. Members of our legal team have first-hand experience and knowledge of the internal workings of HMRC. We can provide you with the very best representation in negotiations with HMRC. Our team specialises in submitting disclosure reports and negotiating potential penalties with HMRC.

Our specialist Tax Solicitors and Barristers deliver expert technical knowledge, strong negotiation skills and respected advice, which can make a pronounced difference to eventual tax penalties, charges and liability. We provide urgent advice and representation to clients from our unique expert team of established Tax and Duties specialist solicitors and barristers with a proven track record of delivering authoritative results.

Our Tax Disputes professionals are available to give information and advice in negotiating penalties with HMRC. To contact one of our specialist Tax Lawyers please click here or call 02071830529.

Call us on ☎ 02071830529 or email us on for more information about the legal services we provide. Our team of London lawyers are based in Middle Temple adjacent to the Royal Courts of Justice. We are committed to providing professional and specialist legal advice.