Making disclosures of irregularities

By Tolley in association with Emma Broadbent of Grant Thornton

The following Personal Tax guidance note by Tolley in association with Emma Broadbent of Grant Thornton provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Making disclosures of irregularities
  • Disclosure of irregularities

Disclosure of irregularities

In the course of a client relationship, advisers may become aware of irregularities in the client’s tax affairs. These could be errors made by the client, the adviser, HMRC or a third party. They may range from innocent errors to fraud.

Advisers should always be mindful of the money laundering regulations and the duties imposed upon them by these rules. Any requirements under the money laundering regulations should be the first consideration of an adviser. See the Money laundering considerations guidance note for further details.

The existence of an irregularity does not override the duty of confidentiality. Advisers must still ensure that they have client authority to disclose to HMRC.

The client may have authorised disclosure in routine circumstances, for example by inclusion of a clause in the engagement letter authorising correction of HMRC errors without recourse to the client. This should be checked before any disclosure, no matter how apparently minor, is made.

When an irregularity is found, clients should be encouraged to make a timely disclosure and advised of their obligations under the relevant tax legislation. There are, of course, consequences of non-disclosure and benefits of unprompted disclosures, not least being the likely reduction in any penalty subsequently levied. However, whether the client follows your advice is ultimately the client’s decision.

For the impact on penalties, see the Penalty reductions for inaccuracies guidance note.

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