• Times They Are a Changing ... Very Very Quickly

    Just a very quick note.

    I curate (I think that is the word) an online newspaper - Offshore Tax Matters.

    Basically, content on offshore matters from around the world is gathered from the internet. Every day, I edit that by removing irrelevant content e.g. matters relating to offshore drilling, etc.

    I also remove out of date content and this is what I want to comment on.

    When I started doing this, I would go through the potential articles and immediately exclude anything that was more than 6 months old. But now anything more than 6 days old is usually old news. The offshore tax world is changing at a phenomenal pace. Stories are stale within days sometimes hours. Leaks, disclosures, court cases, new legislation, new signatories, etc have become daily news.

    I am not complaining ... just saying.



  • Offshore Tax Health Check ("OTHC") Now Even More Important STILL

    I originally published this post on 30 September 2016. Not much has changed since then other than HMRC's inexorable tightening of the noose.

    What is an Offshore Tax Health Check?

    Your doctor gives you a medical check-up. An OTHC is a Tax Check-up done by a specialist offshore tax advisor. Its purpose is to

    a) Identify any changes in legislation, case law or practice since you set up the offshore tax planning

    b) Identify any weaknesses in how it was implemented or subsequently run

    c) Advise on any remedial action

    Why have an OTHC?

    HMRC has increased its focus on offshore matters. The Requirement To Correct includes a requirement to check or have checked that your offshore tax planning works.

    FATCA is here but the Common Reporting Standard ("CRS") has in many respects overtaken FATCA. Under CRS almost all countries will be reporting information to its local tax authority who will pass that information on to your tax authority. The early joiners (including the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man, Channel Islands) have already started to exchange this information. For example, if you are living in Ireland and you own a Jersey company, the Jersey providers will give or have already your details (name, address, tax number, etc) to the Jersey tax authorities. In turn, they will pass these details to the Irish Revenue.

    What do we do?

    We work hand-in-hand with existing advisors. If the original promoter of the tax planning is still around, then we liaise with him or her. We work with your accountant, tax advisor or IFA. Our intention is to supplement the advice they give in the specialist area of offshore tax.

    We are happy to work from your office, your advisor’s office or our office.

    How much does it cost?

    Normally we would calculate our fees on a time basis but we always try to quote you a fixed fee if the scope of the work can be determined.


    Read more ...


  • Do You Have RTC?

    Do you have a RTC?

    Sounds like something anti-social! HMRC would agree.

    A RTC is a "Requirement To Correct". The concept has been introduced by HMRC in a consultation document. Basically, if your offshore tax affairs are not in order, you will have a RTC. If the RTC is not sorted by the deadline, you will be guilty of a FTC ("Failure To Correct"). A FTC will give rise to very high penalties and publication.

    HMRC have said

    Read more ...


  • APN - Accelerated Payment Notices

    HMRC are in full tilt issuing Accelerated Payment Notices ("APN").

    Not all of these have an offshore element but many do. We can help regardless of whether there is an offshore element or not.

    What is an APN?

    If you have already received an APN you will already know what an APN is - it is a demand to pay HMRC the tax they believe is due within 90 days.

    Can I Appeal an APN?

    No. There is no right of appeal against an APN.

    If I cannot appeal, how can you help me?

    Although you cannot appeal the APNs, you can make representations. Representations relate to ensuring

    a) that the money being sought is the correct amount

    b) that the procedures used by HMRC were correct

    If the representations are successful, HMRC will either withdraw or amend the APN. If they withdraw the APN, they will frequently issue a new APN. In this case or if HMRC amend the APN, you get at least a further 90 days to pay.

    Submitting representations may buy you some additional time. Where representations have been made, the payment date is moved back to 30 days after HMRC notify you of rejecting the representations.

    On the deadline for payment (or the delayed deadline) you must pay the full amount or have a Time To Pay arrangement in place. If you don't penalties will arise.

    What can we do?

    We can

    A) Check the amount demanded and make representations if it is wrong.

    B) Challenge the procedures used by HMRC by making representations

    C) Negotiate a Time To Pay arrangement

    If you want us to help, please email me at bernard@fiostax.com. Please send a copy of your full APN and an outline of the tax planning that you used. (We have knowledge of a lot of tax planning that people have used over the years, but we don't know all of them.) Please indicate if the figures used by HMRC are accurate.




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