Has UK government declared open season on expats

Published:  22 Aug at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
Hard on the heels of the projected loss of tax allowances, the banking clampdown on expat accounts and credit cards and other punitive measures comes the threat of expat tax errors being criminalised.

As if frozen pensions, cancelled winter fuel allowances, disenfranchisement and the dysfunctional passport replacement changes weren’t enough, it seems that the government is continuing to dream up more ways of wrecking overseas pensioners’ lives. The latest news that an error or oversight in declarations of overseas income will result in criminal charges is a step too far.

The tough new tax laws as they apply to expats overseas are being proposed by HMRC under the umbrella of minimising offshore tax evasion, and will mean that those making unintentional errors will be considered guilty even if they are unaware of their mistake. For older expats unfamiliar with accountancy principles, the results could be devastating.

UK tax experts have strong concerns about the plan in that it undermines the presumption that guilt must be established in order to prove criminal intent. Similar laws are being used to prevent public risk such as the sale of contaminated food, and experts fail to see how errors in tax returns fit into that category, especially as UK tax laws are a minefield of complexity.

For several months now, the Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey and UK Overseas Territories financial institutions have been forced to share offshore account details with HMRC, and most financial jurisdictions worldwide must follow suit soon. According to the UK tax office, tax evasion by design or even by accident is now a criminal offence.

The UK government seems not to have considered the cost to Britain should the majority of expat retirees be forced to return due to financial and other barriers being placed on them by planned government attacks. It’s certain that maintaining them in the UK will cost far more than the alternative of treating them with respect as British citizens no matter where they choose to live.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive