HMRC panned for holding back Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility details


Fresh reports have revealed that many people are still not aware of the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility, a special scheme for offshore bankers.

Established in 2009, the LDF was actually set up by HMRC to encourage offshore savers to declare their assets, and if they do they are asked to pay penalties at a low rate of just 10 percent.

However, it has emerged that few people are currently aware of the scheme, and HRMC have been blamed for not bringing it to the attention of accountants.

The LDF has been praised as it brings in tax revenue for the UK, yet also allows offshore savers to escape the full brunt of UK taxes.

A UK accountancy firm, Crowe Clark Whitehill, recently conducted a survey to discover the awareness levels of the facility. The found out that just under 20 percent of all small accountancy firms were oblivious to the LDF, and half of the ones that did know were unaware of the potential benefits it could give their clients. 82 percent had mentioned the LDF to only five clients or less.

A partner at Crowe Clark Whitehall, Sean Wakeman, said: “This survey supports the view that HMRC is not doing enough to publicise the LDF more widely, especially when considered that this facility could potentially raise millions of pounds for the Treasury. HMRC needs to take action to bridge the knowledge gap through more extensive publicity to support the effort it has made with larger accountancy firms. More emphasis now also needs to be paid to the many, many smaller firms of accountants.”

However a spokesman for HMRC disagreed: “There has been extensive coverage of the LDF in the media and professional accountancy press. The LDF take-up is very healthy with around 1,500 people coming forward to date, contributing to our current projection of well over a billion pounds in revenue which would otherwise have been lost to the UK.”