We previously addressed HMRC’s use of nudge letters sent to UK taxpayers who were believed to have held or controlled accounts with Euro Pacific Bank (EPB), which can be found here. On 20 February 2023, HMRC issued a press release announcing that two arrests had been made in the UK, for suspected tax evasion and money laundering, in respect of this.
HMRC are in possession of detailed information regarding those believed to have used EPB; we expect these arrests to be the start of HMRC’s action against those who have not yet come forward. It is likely HMRC will not make arrests in all cases, but criminal investigations and fraud enquiries are expected.
When the nudge letters were first sent, HMRC recommended the use of the Worldwide Disclosure Facility (WDF) to make a disclosure, in order to bring a taxpayer’s affairs up to date. In our article, we also suggested the Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF), under Code of Practice (COP) 9, as an option for those who may have committed tax fraud and would benefit from the immunity it offers from criminal prosecution.
Interestingly, HMRC’s press release has now also suggested both the WDF and CDF as options for making a disclosure. This is a clear sign of HMRC’s intention and assessment of the behaviour of those who have used EPB.
Further action to follow from HMRC
As part of the press release, Zoe Gascoyne, Deputy Director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service said: “When we launched this probe, we were clear that customers of this bank should come to us before we came to them. These arrests prove we’re true to our word. Anyone who is not sure they paid the right amount of tax, must come forward and tell HMRC as soon as possible.”
The time to bury your head in the sand has now gone. If you have previously interacted with EPB, but have not yet been contacted by HMRC, or have previously received a communication from HMRC, but have not yet taken action, it is essential to act now – please contact Danielle Ford, Head of Tax Disputes or Riocard Hoye, Senior Manager.
At haysmacintyre, we have a wealth of experience in making successful disclosures to HMRC, under the CDF and WDF. We have a proven track record of obtaining the most favourable result for clients, allowing them to draw a line under the matter and move forward, without further intrusion from HMRC.