We highlight below campaigns that are currently open, as well as those that have closed recently. It is important to understand that the closure of a disclosure facility does not mean that a disclosure cannot be made, as any form of disclosure can be made using the Digital Disclosure Service, or Contractual Disclosure Facility.
A disclosure that has not been prompted by a letter or enquiry from HMRC will benefit from a lower level of penalties on any tax liability due as a result of the disclosure. In the majority of cases, a voluntary disclosure will also ensure that HMRC will not prosecute for the errors, even if they are considered to be deliberate or fraudulent.
With HMRC sending out ‘nudge letters’ based on information they have to suggest income or gains have not been reported, it is important to bring your tax affairs up to date before any intervention from HMRC.
Let Property Campaign
The Let Property Campaign is focused on residential property landlords, whether single or multiple properties. It applies to non-resident landlords too; however, it does not apply to companies or trustees.
The campaign was launched in August 2013, initially for a period of 18 months, but then extended.
Following registration, taxpayers have three months to make a disclosure and pay the tax, interest and penalties due.
If the taxpayer is registered for self-assessment, the maximum number of years that will need to be disclosed is 6 years, on the basis that the failure to disclose was careless, no matter how long they have been receiving rental income. If, however, the failure was deliberate, or if they had failed to notify HMRC and register for self-assessment at all, then HMRC could go back up to 20 years.
Digital Disclosure Service
The Digital Disclosure Service offers a disclosure route for individuals and companies who wish to make a disclosure but who are not covered by a specific HMRC campaign.
There are three stages:
- Notifying HMRC that you intend to make a disclosure;
- Preparing and submitting the disclosure within 90 days;
- Making a formal offer to HMRC together with payment of the tax, interest and penalties due.
Profit Diversion Disclosure Facility
HMRC launched the profit diversion disclosure facility tor multinationals whose transfer pricing arrangements might bring them within the scope of the Diverted Profits Tax.
The facility permits companies to register before HMRC opens an investigation, submit a full report and pay the tax within six months of registration.
To benefit from the maximum penalty reduction disclosure was required by 31 December 2019, however as with all specific disclosure facilities that are now closed, a disclosure can still be made through the regular disclosure route.
Disguised Remuneration Settlement Opportunity
While not strictly a disclosure route, the disguised remuneration settlement opportunity offers participants in contractor loan schemes, employee benefit trusts and other forms of disguised remuneration, the ability to settle with HMRC so that loans received.
There have been various stages to these settlement opportunities, and in many instances HMRC have extended the deadlines for agreeing a settlement with them. Therefore, if you have been involved in a scheme which is now considered to be ineffective, you should still consider applying for the settlement opportunity as HMRC are likely to accept new applications as an easy way to process these cases.
Contractual Disclosure Facility / Code of Practice 9
Where HMRC suspects tax fraud, it may offer the Contractual Disclosure Facility, also known as Code of Practice 9 (COP9), inviting a taxpayer to make an outline disclosure within 60 days and, subject to a satisfactory outline disclosure being made, agree not to undertake a criminal prosecution.
It is also possible in cases where there has been a deliberate loss of tax to approach HMRC and to ask for the Contractual Disclosure Facility. If accepted, and if a valid outline disclosure is made, the same terms apply.
The process is onerous and is operated by HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service.
HMRC are likely to want to meet with the taxpayer, though this can sometimes be avoided.
They will also, other than in the simplest of cases, wish the taxpayer to commission a comprehensive disclosure report.
The process needs to be handled with extreme care, especially in respect of signing any documents at the end such as the Certificate of Full Disclosure. If false information is given to HMRC on such documents, they could choose to prosecute.
through these structures are treated as taxable in the years that they were actually received.