Following the announcement in Budget 2017 that taxpayers are being given six months to ensure tax compliance should they have hidden off-shore assets, RSM Ireland is now urging the members of the public to come forward to review their position, even if they believe themselves to be compliant.
Aidan Byrne, Tax Partner at RSM said, “It is likely that taxpayers who do not regularise their affairs by May 1st 2017 will face significant sanctions including 100% penalties, publication on the tax defaulters list and potentially criminal prosecution for tax avoidance. Revenue has been very upfront about this. With all the opportunities that have been given to put affairs in order, those who refuse to take this final opportunity will have the full rigour of the law applied to them. A bit like Liam Neeson in Taken, if you’re not compliant, it has vowed to look for you, and to find you!”
“In the circumstances, we strongly suggest that those individuals or corporate entities with overseas assets take this opportunity to review their position - even if they believe themselves to be compliant. Now is the right time to properly stress test compliance. We can undertake a review of a tax payer’s affairs and assist them in preparing a submission if so required. For those who don’t believe they have an exposure, having a similar review undertaken would also be wise so that when Revenue do make contact, the information and confirmation of compliance will be to hand, ending the need for an investigation by Revenue,” he said.
The 2017 Budget announcements about overseas assets and tax avoidance were taken in conjunction with moves by the OECD to foster international cooperation between different jurisdictions with the sharing of information. The OECD moves were prompted by revelations in the recent Luxembourg Leaks and Panama Papers highlighting both individuals and organisations who use off-shore jurisdictions to hold funds and facilitate tax avoidance.
The 2017 Finance Bill, aimed to close loopholes in tax legislation in relation to overseas assets, it gives tax defaulters with hidden offshore assets until May 1st to put their affairs in order, before tax authorities make more use of internationally available information on assets in tax havens. The Government estimated the yield from this clampdown will be around €30 million. However, in 2015 alone, the yield from offshore investigations by revenue amounted to over €60 million (Source: Revenue.ie).