HMRC have recently issued their latest version of their briefing document targeting offshore tax evasion, ‘No Safe Havens 2014’.

The document is self explanatory and below is a link:


The ‘headline bullet points’ are as follows:

  • £1.5bn collected from offshore tax evaders in last 2 years
  • 100 taxpayers with Cayman Island investments have been approached directly by HMRC
  • 1000 requests this year to Switzerland for detailed investment information
  • Payments offered to whistleblowers for information
  • Consulting in 2014 on a criminal offence for offshore tax evasion with unlimited penalties and imprisonment
  • 1000 additional tax evasion prosecutions in 2014/15

If you have an undisclosed offshore account or structure the Edwin Coe tax team advise that it is time to pull your head out of the sand and protect yourself now. Edwin Coe’s Head of Tax, Frank Strachan, suggests that people take advantage of one of the disclosure facilities available to you to protect both your funds and your liberty.

The impact of the vast number of information exchange agreements entered into between the UK and offshore jurisdictions cannot be underestimated. HMRC are already receiving considerable amounts of data from offshore jurisdictions, however the real difference is that HMRC are now able to use technology to review that data and attach it to individual taxpayers.

If you are considering disclosing historic tax liabilities, our final piece of advice is to choose wisely which firm you decide to represent you.

Below are a couple of thoughts to consider when choosing your advisor:

  • Get a number of quotes (be wary of quotes that seem too low as they may not represent your final costs)
  • Is the firm you are engaging covered by legal professional privilege
  • How many similar disclosures has the firm undertaken
  • Has the practitioner previously worked at HMRC
  • Does the firm view my engagement as solely the resolution of the problem or do they consider my engagement to be an opportunity to build a longer term relationship with me? If they want are seeking a longer term relationship, what do they mean by that? (i.e. Once compliant will you be farmed off to another team within the firm)

Making a disclosure is a serious matter. It is your one chance to put matters right and on the correct footing for the future to allow your wealth to regenerate and to protect you and your families position for years to come, so choose wisely when instructing someone to prepare such a disclosure for you.

Please feel free to contact us so that you can see why we are the right people to help you resolve the tax disclosure and look to ensure you are on the correct footing for the future


For further information on this news release, please contact:

Frank Strachan, Partner +44 (0)20 7691 4000 frank.strachan@edwincoe.com

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