It was once said if ever what we know was known by others, everyone would flee the country. Trouble is everything is known by a selected few and we don’t realise it, or worse, believe that they don’t know everything.
I was speaking to a colleague the other day about tax investigations and he was telling me an interesting tale about a tax investigation he had been involved with.
His client had been selected for investigation and being a brave (but as it turns out foolhardy) Englishman decided to tough it out with HMRC. So when the investigating officer asked the client to tell him all about his properties, the brave Englishman replied, “well, there’s my house here and I’ve got a flat on the South Coast at Bournemouth which I let out. I’ve already told you about these: what’s the problem?”
The taxman asked him again ” Are you sure those are all of your properties?”
“Absolutely”, replied the by-now-feeling-less-confident Englishman.
“So what about these ones?” as the now, victorious tax inspector handed over a folder containing the other 12 properties held overseas in countries ranging from France to Morocco.
As he looked across the table at him, the foolhardy Englishman visibly turned to jelly and slid from his chair on to the floor.
That’s an extreme situation I admit, but real. When you get investigated – not if – you can be sure that your secrets are already known when the taxman comes to call and your chances of being investigated are not getting any less as our web article demonstrates in more detail. And at least we’ve got a solution in addition to ” flee the country”, just not quite as expensive.