"Come on Lads, someone must have one? You know you'll only make things worse by not Owning Up.." Revenue extends offshore tax amnesty deadline By Lucy Warwick-Ching Published: November 27 2009 12:14 | Last updated: November 27 2009 12:14 HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is extending the deadline for its tax amnesty for offshore savers in a last-minute push by the tax authority to draw attention to its âlast chanceâ amnesty for evaders. In a statement put out on Friday the Revenue said that individuals now have until 4 January 2010 to tell it about any undeclared offshore accounts before its new disclosure opportunity (NDO) ends. Under the terms of the amnesty, which was due to run out at the end of the month, those who declare that they have savings or other income from overseas, for example from renting out property, will pay all the tax they owe plus a 10 per cent penalty. Those who fail to come forward face penalties of up to 100 per cent of the tax they owe and could face prosecution. The Revenue is expected to make good use of the next five weeks by writing to more individuals holding offshore accounts. To date it has only written directly to around 35,000 offshore account holders. âMost of the banks that HMRC has approached for account holder details have yet to supply them - there could be another 150,000 individuals for HMRC to contact,â said John Cassidy, tax investigations and dispute resolution partner at PKF Accountants and business advisers. âThis is vital because, from my experience, only a personal letter from HMRC really motivates people to come clean on tax inequalities. The more people they can write to before 4 January, the more money the amnesty will collect.â Dave Hartnett, HMRCâs permanent secretary for tax, said the revenue was taking a pragmatic approach to the amnesty. âWe know that some bank customers will not be contacted by their banks in good time for the original deadline of 30 November so in the interest of fairness we have decided to extend our deadline by a month.â However, the slow take up of the NDO will be a blow to the Government, which had hoped to boost its finances with the tax take. It also follows on from last weekâs news that there has also been a low take-up of the tax amnesty with Liechtenstein, which began in September. Just 27 people have taken advantage of that deal in its first two months. Paul Robert, head of tax investigations at Grant Thornton, said: âHMRC is certainly hardening their approach to offshore bank accounts and in next monthâs Pre-Budget report we are likely to see additional new measures. We are also likely to witness a number of high-profile criminal prosecutions in due course in order to act as a deterrent to those tryign to avoid paying the correct amount of tax.â The NDO is the second such amnesty that has been offered in the UK by the taxman, but HMRC says that it will be the last. The initial disclosure regime, which closed in 2007, raised Â£400m for the Treasury coffers after 45,000 savers came forward.