A leak of financial documents has revealed the offshore interests of hundreds of high-profile companies and individuals. The revelations are the result of investigations by journalists across the world who have examined 13.4m files belonging to professional services firms and offshore corporate registries.
Andrew Smith, Partner at Corker Binning, commented: “If Appleby’s advice has gone no further than tax avoidance, we shouldn’t expect to see any prosecutions in the UK arising from this data leak.
The new criminal offences being rolled out by HMRC – such as failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion – are not retroactive, but even if they were, nothing has been disclosed so far which suggests they would criminalise what has happened here.
However, that is not to say these new offences won’t make a difference. They reflect the rising tide of moral opprobrium directed at the offshore tax industry. Advisors will now tread extremely carefully so as to avoid falling onto the wrong side of the notoriously blurred line between legitimate tax avoidance and illegitimate tax evasion.”