Publishing the names of deliberate defaulters

Section 94 FA 2009 permits HMRC to publish the names of deliberate tax defaulters when certain narrow conditions are met:

  • A penalty has been incurred in relation to an error in a return or document or there has been a failure to notify chargeability to tax.
  • The penalty arises from a deliberate action or inaction by the taxpayer
  • The amount of tax which would have been lost is greater than £25,000

The measure applies for years from 1 April 2010.

  • The individual has the right of appeal and no publication is possible until all appeals are exhausted.
  • HMRC will not publish details where an individual makes a full disclosure to HMRC
  • HMRC must publish within 12 months of the penalty becoming final and cease publishing that information 12 months thereafter.

What of Human Rights?

As HMRC's Commissioners are bound not to break taxpayer confidentiality and there are potentially serious Human Rights issues if a taxpayer is obstructed in any way that prevents appeal, it will be interesting to see whether this measure will be cost effective to enforce. 

Further reading

HMRC: publishing the details of deliberate tax defaulters

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