Using the Worldwide Disclosure Facility

The new Worldwide Disclosure Facility (WDF) was launched on 5 September 2016. Anyone who wants to disclose a UK tax liability that relates wholly or partly to an offshore issue can use the WDF. An offshore issue includes unpaid or omitted tax relating to:

  • income arising from a source in a territory outside the UK;
  • assets situated or held in a territory outside the UK;
  • activities carried on wholly or mainly in a territory outside the UK;
  • anything having effect as if it were income, assets or activities of a kind described above.

Various financial institutions, tax agents and tax advisers in the UK are in the process of writing to certain taxpayers with money or assets abroad. Any taxpayers that receive a ‘notification letter’ need to check their tax affairs are up-to-date. These letters are being sent to some taxpayers resident in the UK who have money or assets overseas. For example, a bank that has provided a UK resident with an overseas bank account may be required to send such a letter.

If you have received a letter from HMRC or have specific concerns we would be happy to discuss your options. It is important to note that receipt of a letter in no way implies that any tax avoidance has taken place. However, those with undeclared foreign income or assets will need to make a disclosure to HMRC using the WDF. Unlike previous disclosure opportunities, the new WDF does not offer any special terms for settling one's affairs and in most cases any interest and penalties levied will be charged in full.

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