HMRC launch offshore property owners campaign
It has been reported by the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) that HMRC is to launch a new campaign to tackle non-compliance linked to offshore corporates owning UK property. HMRC has conducted a review of non-resident corporate owners of UK property using data from the Land Registry and other sources. This review has helped HMRC identify offshore property owners that may not have fully met their UK tax obligations.
HMRC is now expected to write to those identified, encouraging them to review their UK tax position and if necessary to make a disclosure to HMRC if any issues are identified. There are two different letters that may be sent. The first, titled ‘Disclosure for Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings/Non-Resident Landlord liabilities’ and the second titled ‘Disposal of interest in UK residential property’. Both letters also recommend that the companies should ask connected UK-resident individuals to ensure their personal tax affairs are up to date in respect of the related anti-avoidance provisions.
There are higher penalties for offshore tax non-compliance. In certain circumstances, these penalties may be reduced. The largest reductions are for unprompted disclosures. The penalty also varies depending on whether the errors are careless, non-deliberate, deliberate or deliberate and concealed.
It should also be noted that a new Register of Overseas Entities was recently launched by Companies House. This register requires overseas entities that own land or property in the UK to declare their beneficial owners and / or managing officers. Overseas entities that already own UK property are required to register with Companies House and provide details of their registrable beneficial owners and / or managing officers by 31 January 2023. This applies to overseas entities who bought property or land on or after 1 January 1999 in England and Wales, 8 December 2014 in Scotland and on or after 1 August 2022 in Northern Ireland.