Following the news that HMRC has issued warning letters to people with overseas bank accounts and investments regarding possible under-declaration of their UK tax liabilities, national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm, Crowe UK has advised recipients that given there is no statutory requirement to do so, to avoid signing the formal certificates issued with the letters until specialist advice is sought.
John Cassidy, Tax Resolutions Partner at Crowe, said:
"While we would never suggest disregarding correspondence from HMRC out of hand, we would advise that in this instance anyone receiving such a letter, or anything similar does not complete the certificate. As there is no specified period of time to which the certificate relates, nor any obligation to complete it, by signing such a document, recipients could be opening themselves up to unwarranted or unnecessary scrutiny from HMRC."
There are a number of alternative courses of action, which recipients can take. John Cassidy added:
"In the first instance, it is advisable for recipients to consider their position carefully and to double check there is nothing that has been overlooked with the help of a specialist advisor given how complex offshore tax matters can be. A specialist advisor can also prepare an appropriate response, which can be crucial especially if there is additional tax to pay."