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Problem Cases

Most tax jurisdictions in the world require individuals, corporations, trusts and charities to routinely file tax returns, which are timely and accurate and which can then be properly assessed for taxes that are due. Those that correctly, accurately file in a timely manner and pay the taxes that result are said to be “compliant”. Those who are not compliant are termed “non-compliant”, delinquent or other such phrases. Those that are not compliant may face penalties for late or incomplete filing; in many jurisdictions, such late, or incomplete or inaccurate filing may be termed evasion, which might lead to more severe penalties, seizure of assets and in the worst cases, possible imprisonment. One may be non-compliant through accident, lack of appropriate knowledge or through deliberate action. Rectifying one’s affairs is termed “coming back into compliance”.

Coming back into compliance

Most tax authorities will deal more leniently with those who voluntarily come back into compliance than before they are caught; those who wait to be caught are dealt with more severely. We are experienced in bringing clients back into compliance. In simple cases, we can do these ourselves using our own internal staff resources. When non-compliance has existed for some time, or where the amounts involved are larger, or where there is an element that non-compliance was or may have been deliberate, we then work closely with specialist legal advisers, so that the case can be dealt with under “client/attorney privilege”

Related News – 02/09/2013 Singapore Criminalisation of Tax Evasion

Client/Attorney privilege

Most jurisdictions allow clients to divulge information to their qualified solicitors or attorneys, where the solicitor or attorney is helping them to come back into compliance and where the tax authorities then cannot compel the said solicitor or attorney to divulge the information that has been passed to them. The information is deemed “privileged”. Where a client is seriously non-compliant, we may be engaged by the solicitor or attorney to provide specialist tax advice to them, who can then use it in the preparation of the client’s case. Our advice would then also be protected by privilege. Alternatively, we may need to employ such solicitor or attorneys ourselves in order to gain the advantage of such privilege, though such appointment would only be made with our client’s prior knowledge and permission.
We have a successful track record of bringing non-compliant customers back into full legal compliance and are available to help should your circumstances require it. We cannot and will not help those who wish to remain non-compliant.

Catch-up filing

Clients sometimes do not file their tax affairs for several years, sometimes because they were not aware of the requirement to do so, sometimes because of pressure of work or family circumstances, or sometimes through forgetfulness. We are happy to assist with “catch-up filing”. In most jurisdictions, the tax authorities more sympathetically with those who volunteer to catch-up than those who continue to remain non-compliant and who might eventually get found out.

Filing adjustments

It sometimes transpires, with hindsight that tax affairs were incomplete or incorrectly reported or had they been reported differently, more favourable tax results may have appeared. We are happy to advise on cases, where such filing adjustments might be appropriate, and prepare and file such adjustments.