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News Report Page 15 of 38
Publication Date:- 2018-06-
News reports located on this page = 2.

Offshore Tax evaders face imprisonment and enormous fines

UK Taxpayers who fail to disclose offshore income or gains, either by failing to notify HMRC of their chargeability to UK Tax, failing to deliver a Tax return or by submission of an incorrect Tax return will face imprisonment and swinging penalties say leading accounting, Tax and advisory practice Blick Rothenberg.

Gary Gardner, a partner at Blick Rothenberg said:- "Individuals with offshore interests and their advisers should be aware that HMRC is committed to enforcing the new legislation introduced in FA 2016 in relation to undisclosed offshore income and gains in respect of which the maximum sanction is 6 months imprisonment."

The new rules were devised partly in response to the immense political, media and public pressure for HMRC to criminally investigate and secure convictions against Tax evaders, with the focus on wealthy individuals, and are likely to drive a further increase in the number of criminal investigations relating to offshore Tax evasion.

Critically, the new rules do not distinguish between those who have intentionally misled HMRC and those who have merely "got it wrong" since the legislation is framed in such a way that the mere existence of undisclosed offshore income and gains is sufficient to enable the sanctions to bite. The prosecution does not have to prove that there was "mens rea" (a guilty mind).

Despite the "strict liability" nature of the offence the Taxpayer can put forward the defence that he had a reasonable excuse for the failures or inaccuracy. However the onus is squarely on the Taxpayer to demonstrate this.

Gardner added:- "The offence applies from the Tax year 2017/18 which means that HMRC will begin to take action from 6 October 2018 because Taxpayers have until 6 months after the end of the year of assessment in which to notify HMRC of their chargeability to Tax which means the cut off date for such notification is 5 October 2018. Practitioners have perhaps been overly focused with the Requirement to Correct ("RTC") and Failure to Correct ("FTC") rules and overlooked earlier legislation in 2016 which brought in a new strict liability criminal offence for offshore Tax evasion. A preoccupation with the Requirement to Correct ("RTC") rules is entirely understandable as the sanctions for failing to correct any inaccuracies in an individual's Tax affairs in relation to offshore matters by the 30 September 2018 deadline are severe; with penalties of up to 300% of the Tax involved and a minimum penalty of 100% of the Tax evaded. In addition, despite the drive to increase prosecutions it is likely that the majority of cases will still be dealt with on a civil basis so will involve the imposition of penalties. It is not surprising that the earliest date that an offence can be committed coincides closely with both the deadline for the RTC and the 1st full automatic exchange of information by over a 100 countries under the Common Reporting Standard ("CRS") on 30 September 2018. The huge increase in information that CRS will deliver to HMRC will enable them to escalate their drive to stamp out offshore Tax evasion. Those with any doubt that their offshore Tax affairs are all in order should without further hesitation ask their advisers to undertake a 'health check' to ensure that they not exposed to the sanctions associated with non-compliance."

Young interns to graduate

9 young people with learning disabilities who have been through a programme to help them into work are graduating, on Monday, 25 June 2018. The Council teamed up with the Marriott Hotel, Hilton Hotels and grounds maintenance partner Glendale Liverpool to offer the Supported Internship placements over an academic year.

Since last September, pupils from Sandfield Park School, Bank View High School and Myerscough College worked 4 days a week and spent the other day in lessons to build employability skills. All the pupils have been supported by a work coach who helps them get used to the routine expected when in employment, instructing and supporting them to build skills in the workplace to complete work tasks to a high level.

3 of the interns have now got a job, another has secured an apprenticeship, 1 is going back to College, another is continuing with the internship for another 6 months and the remainder are actively pursuing vacancies and attending interviews.

Just 6% of young people with learning disabilities are in employment, and the aim of the scheme is to help them transition from education in to the world of work, so they can live more independently and don't become socially isolated.

Councillor Barbara Murray, Cabinet member for education, said:- "This scheme is about working closely with young people, Schools and employers to provide customised support into the world of work and give them the opportunity to compete for jobs and thereby fulfil their fullest potential. I am delighted to have been invited to the graduation to meet with the young people their families and their prospective employers. This scheme has been such a success and will be expanded next year to involve more businesses and more opportunities for our young people."

Although it will take time, the eventual aim is for every young person with disabilities that wants it to be given the chance to get paid employment.

The scheme is trebling in size, in September 2018, with 8 more firms signed up, including the City Council.

At the graduation ceremony at the Hilton Hotel on Monday, 25 June 2018, short films charting the progress of the interns will be shown.

Sarah Spoor, Learning Mentor and Inclusion Officer at Sandfield Park, said:- "I can honestly say that the Supported Internship programme is the best thing I have seen in all of the years I have been working with young people with special educational needs.  For too long there have been poor outcomes for disabled young people leaving School/College and very few are able to find paid employment; this is not only unfair, but it means that so much talent and skill is not being used or developed and sadly impacts on disabled young people's aspirations and hopes for the future. It is a chance to develop work skills with support from a work coach to give the young person a real chance to get meaningful and paid employment. I have seen all 3 young people grow so much in confidence and maturity and they are more independent and developing great skills."

Helen Eaton, Assistant Principal of Myerscough College, said:- "The Supported Internship programme provides the opportunity for Myerscough College to work with both young people and their supervisors. It's about creating work ready young people and removing any barriers that may be present in the workplace that could stop the employer from taking on a young person with learning difficulties. I'm so proud of the progress that's being made."

Becky Cooper, HR Manager for Marriott Liverpool said:- "The supported Internship program is an exciting opportunity for us to work closely with our community partners to enhance the experience of young people with disabilities and equip them with the necessary skills to go on to paid employment. Allowing us to access a new pool of talent, the programme also provides our employees with exceptional personal development opportunities as they work with and mentor the young people."

Sara Morrison, HR manager at the Hilton Hotel, said:- "In our opinion we think it's been a great success, seeing the girls from where they 1st came to look around the hotel and they seemed totally overwhelmed. Now, they walk in like a normal team member, they just get on with their shift. The confidence in them is just unbelievable to see how much they have grown. It's just like seeing them blossom in our eyes, it's so nice."

Eirinn Carey, who has been working at the Hilton Hotel, said:- "The best thing about coming to work is that you've got something to look forward to. This has given us experience to get a job in the future."

Vital local services in the North West are collapsing say Council staff in UNISON survey

Local Government spending cuts have left Councils in the North West of England unable to meet the needs of local communities and, in some cases, are putting the public at risk, says UNISON. A survey, released to coincide with the union's Local Government conference, reveals that 81% Council workers have no confidence in the future of local services, and 49% are thinking of leaving their jobs for less stressful work elsewhere.

The survey; of almost 1500 Local Government employees working across all services; reveals that 69% say residents don't receive help and support when they need it, and 56% are not confident vulnerable residents are safe and cared for. Council staff who took part shared stories of overcrowded families living in mouldy properties, fly tipping being left for weeks, increasing rodent populations, residents' cars damaged by huge potholes, and vulnerable children, young people and adults not getting the help and support they need.

A recent National Audit Office (NAO) report revealed that Government funding for local Authorities in England has fallen by an estimated 49.1% (in real terms) from 2010 to 2011 to 2017 to 2018. In UNISON's survey,an overwhelming 82% of respondents in the North West admitted these cuts have had a negative impact on their ability to do the job as well as they can.

"While local Authorities have protected spending on statutory service areas such as adult and children's social care, the amount they spend on other areas like parks and libraries has fallen sharply."
says UNISON.

Worryingly, 54% those who responded believe their Council no longer delivers quality services, and 45% that their employer doesn't make the right decisions for the public. Additionally, 67% are concerned about the financial situation of their Council. Council workers identified a lack of front line staff (65%), adult social care (62%), safeguarding children and young people (50%) and road repairs (45%) as the biggest challenges facing local Authorities in the North West. 75% of those surveyed said there had been redundancies in their departments and as a result, 42% don't feel secure in their jobs. Many spoke of colleagues leaving and not being replaced, causing those remaining to pick up the extra work. As a result, 41% said their workload is unmanageable and 59% that they regularly work beyond their contracted hours.

UNISON North West Regional secretary Kevan Nelson said:- "Local services are collapsing and Council workers are being left to pick up the pieces and do the best they can amid the chaos. This disturbing survey should ring alarm bells in Whitehall and alert ministers to the crisis happening in Councils across the North West. Local Authorities have had to cut so many vital services that they have now reached a point where vulnerable children and the elderly struggle to get the help that they need, entire communities are suffering, and the public are being put at risk.  With cuts to road and bridge maintenance, potholes in roads are left unfilled, and bridges are at risk of crumbling. Crematoriums are not maintained, streetlights stay broken, and parks are in disrepair as Councils don't have the equipment or the staff to adequately maintain them. There are now over 1 million people with an unmet need for social care because Councils don't have the resources to support them. Now is the time to reverse these cuts and invest in Local Government once more or the very fabric of our society will come unstuck."

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