09.February.2018

H M Revenue & Customs has an unquenchable thirst for information about private individuals in the United Kingdom and has invested huge amounts of resource into data-gathering during recent times. They have bolstered their Investigators with new powers and agreements with various countries and organisations around the world to exchange information.

This commitment of manpower to information-gathering has seen a downturn in traditional fraud investigations, outside London at least, and just as H M Revenue & Customs seem to be moving back towards investigation, rather than intelligence-gathering, the immense portfolio of documents taken from Mossack Fonseca in Panama has fallen into its lap.

Mossack Fonseca has been demonised in the press and on television in the last couple of days but they have acted for many years in commercial situations for the international community.

This means that not only Heads of State but organised criminals and tax evaders are at risk from H M Revenue & Customs intervention.

Anybody who has used planning or overseas structures provided by or through Mossack Fonseca in Panama to evade taxes is clearly at risk and that risk includes exposure to criminal prosecution. Even in a case not determined suitable for criminal prosecution, HMR&C has draconian powers to impose penalties up to 100%, and in some cases even more, of taxes evaded if an individual has acted deliberately – it is notoriously difficult, if not impossible, to maintain that evasion or avoidance of tax was not deliberate when an individual has established or used an overseas structure.

Anyone who believes that they are exposed to an attack from the Mossack Fonseca leaks should consider making a Voluntary Disclosure to HMR&C before any investigation or prosecution is started.

Cobham Murphy Limited has the experience and expertise to provide a risk assessment and to take any Voluntary Disclosures forward to HMR&C’s Fraud Investigation Service (FIS) or Counter-Avoidance Teams in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.

People who have not avoided any duties and who have used offshore structures, including Panamanian foundations and nominees provided by or through Mossack Fonseca, are also at risk because HMR&C will assume that they have been avoiding taxes and commence investigations against them anyway. This can bring huge disruption to an individual’s private and business lives and can expose them and their associates to in-depth investigations of all aspects of their affairs, not just any overseas matters.

Again, Cobham Murphy Limited is well-placed to assist such people, and others who may have acquired Panamanian foundations and overseas structures from other corporate service providers around the globe, by undertaking a high-level risk assessment and advising on the necessary strategy to “nip investigations in the bud” or to take Voluntary Disclosures forward to H M Revenue & Customs.

If you or any of your clients have any concerns whatsoever about HMR&C investigations or prosecutions, either already in place or potentially in the future, please contact Cobham Murphy Limited’s ex-High Level HMR&C Team who will assist:-

Telephone: 0151 285 3100
Fax: 0151 285 3131
Email [email protected]