Financial advisers rile at plans to shift offshore tax notification burden

Oliver Gill
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Financial advisers in the Square Mile were not impressed by some of the Chancellor's proposals

Financial advisers will have to tell UK authorities about clients' complex offshore tax structures, according to new government proposals.

Today's Autumn Statement contained plans to consult "on a new legal requirement for intermediaries arranging complex structures for clients holding money offshore to notify HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) of the structures and the related client lists".

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Law firm Pinsent Masons labelled the plans a "war on professional firms and financial services". Partner and head of tax Jason Collins said the plans "will potentially affect lawyers, accountants, banks, fund providers and trust and company service providers, located both in the UK and overseas".

The proposed tightening of laws is not necessary according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland. Director of tax, Charlotte Barbour said: "We believe the pendulum has already swung away from avoidance schemes."

It would appear that the political drive is widening and we remain concerned that our members must be able to give proper advice to taxpayers. The muddying of waters is not helpful, particularly when new professional guidance has recently been issued.

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Meanwhile, Hammond also announced plans to “legislate to clarify and improve certain aspects of partnership taxation”.

Accountants UHY Hacker Young said the government is expected to announce that partnerships must decide their profit-sharing arrangements at the beginning of the tax year rather than at the end, regardless of how individuals perform over the year.

Roy Maugham a tax partner at UHY warned the government to "tread carefully" and added: “These proposals threaten to break that critical link between performance and remuneration, something that seems to runs contrary to basic fairness.”

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