HMRC has used targeted campaigns to recover underpaid taxes and penalties from specific sectors and industries where significant underpayment of tax has been identified. The use of these campaigns is part of the government’s continued moves to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud.
Current campaigns include the Card Transaction Programme, a disclosure opportunity for businesses that accept card payments and have not paid the right amount of tax due and the Let Property Campaign for landlords who have undeclared income from residential property lettings in the UK or abroad.
HMRC also publishes separate guidance for individuals and companies who need to make a voluntary disclosure but who aren’t eligible for a specific HMRC Campaign. The service is known as the Digital Disclosure Service (DDS).
There are three main stages to making a disclosure, notifying HMRC that you wish to make a disclosure, preparing an actual disclosure (within 90 days from the date HMRC acknowledged your notification) and making a formal offer together with payment.
Taxpayers that come forward voluntarily will usually benefit from better terms and lower penalties for making a disclosure. The actual rate of the penalties will vary depending on the specific circumstances. There are higher penalties for offshore liabilities. For undisclosed liabilities, the penalties could be up to 100% of the unpaid liabilities, or up to 200% for offshore related income.