Tuesday, September 1, 2009

HMRC welcomes the "super-rich" to a new unit

Four months after launching their new High Net Worth Unit, HMRC is reported to have written to 5,000 of the UK's richest people to advise them that their tax affairs have now been transferred.

The new unit was created to be responsible for a small number of the wealthiest taxpayers with complex tax affairs. We're talking here about assets of approx £20million or more but there is some flexibility especially if someone's assets are growing fast and also if members of a family have interconnected tax affairs. And accountants may be able to nominate clients they would like to be transferred to the new unit.

According to the Telegraph the welcome letter is couched in the friendliest possible terms and sets out what each person can expect from the Revenue's new approach:

It says the unit will: "Build relationships and develop our commercial awareness to help us better understand our customers and make it easier for you to get things right; provide a better service for you through proactive engagement and by providing a single point of contact for all your tax affairs; and encourage open communication to achieve swift resolutions to any contact you have with us."

Most of the taxpayers whose affairs have been transferred would previously have been dealt with in the 'Complex Personal Returns' (CPR) unit. That unit seems to have been a victim of its own success. Stories abound of accountants asking for their client's affairs to be transferred TO the CPR as the staff there seemed more switched on than in certain other offices. Nevertheless the rump of taxpayers previously dealt with by CPR teams have been transferred to the main Customer Operations unit in Stockton-on-Tees.

It seems likely that HMRC will conduct more real time interventions into the tax affairs of the 'super-rich' and probe deeper into their financial affairs using a wider array of information sources, including data from overseas authorities. HMRC will be as interested in determining the origins of an individual's or family's wealth as in ensuring that all tax due on income and gains is paid on time.

Do any readers of this blog have any experience of the new unit or views as to this development?

No comments:

Post a Comment