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Published on 30 August 2018

Draft Finance Bill 2018-2019: Extension of offshore time limits

LITRG has responded to the Government’s publication of the draft legislation which allows HMRC to raise assessments on matters involving offshore tax which are up to 12 years old. The new time limit represents up to a three-fold increase in the amount of time HMRC have to raise assessments in cases where the loss of tax has not been brought about deliberately.

Person typing an a laptop with a globe in the foreground. ©istock/BrianAJackson

LITRG opposed the introduction of the new time limits in an earlier consultation on the matter and suggested a number of safeguards for vulnerable taxpayers. Unfortunately, many of the suggestions have not been taken forward in the draft legislation. In this response we have reiterated our concerns and suggested specific amendments to the new law, including that:

  • An exclusion, whereby the new time limits do not apply if information has been received from overseas authorities before the original deadline, has looser conditions and therefore wider scope;
  • The new rules only apply from 2019/20 onwards rather than as far back as 2013/14 as currently proposed, so that there is truly no retrospective impact;
  • A de minimis be introduced to prevent HMRC from relying on the new time limits to collect immaterial amounts of tax for which the distress caused to the vulnerable taxpayer does not justify the net gain for the Exchequer.

The LITRG submission can be found here: Draft Finance Bill 2018-2019: Extension of offshore time limits – LITRG response

Tom Henderson

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