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CIOT issues guidance on offshore disclosures

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The CIOT has issued advice for practitioners on the most appropriate way to respond if a client receives a letter from HMRC, inviting them to disclose details of income, gains or assets from overseas accounts or investments by completing and signing a ‘certificate of tax position’.

Prompted by information received from overseas tax authorities under automatic exchange of information agreements, HMRC has been sending out such letters to UK individuals over the past couple of years.

The CIOT suggests an approach based around three main actions:

  • check first with the client that their tax affairs are correct and complete to the best of their knowledge and belief before responding to the letter;
  • respond to HMRC’s letter, whether or not there is anything to disclose; and
  • in view of the serious consequences of making a false declaration, consider very carefully whether to sign and return the ‘certificate of tax position’, bearing in mind that the individual has no legal obligation on to complete the certificate, which applies to all years and does not have a de minimis level.

The CIOT has shared its guidance with HMRC to check that it accurately reflects HMRC’s position. See

HMRC has updated its Compliance Handbook at CH53505 onwards (, adding guidance on the new 12-year assessing time limit for offshore matters and offshore transfers.

Finance Act 2019 introduced the controversial extended time limit for tax lost, covering income tax, CGT and IHT, where taxpayers’ behaviour was not deliberate.

The new limit applies for tax years 2013/14 onwards for careless behaviour and from 2015/16 for errors, even where the taxpayer took reasonable care. The existing 20-year time limit will still apply for deliberate behaviour.

Issue: 1448
Categories: News