By Daniel Hunter
After a trial that lasted 13 days Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp has been cleared of all charges relating to tax evasion.
His co-defendat, Milan Mandaric, has also been cleared of all charges. The juries verdict brings to an end one of the most high profile tax cases of recent years.
“This verdict should not bring false hope to tax evaders,” commented Paul Samrah, partner at Kingston Smith LLP, the top 20 accountancy firm. “If anything, it will make HMRC more tenacious than ever in tracking down and prosecuting suspects. They will go after every Tom, Dick or Harriet in pursuit of unpaid taxes.”
Samrah warns that HMRC are determined to tackle tax evasion and will pursue suspected perpetrators — even to the point of criminal charge and trial — regardless of their background or status; no-one is above the law. Indeed, the high profile nature of the case demonstrates how keen HMRC were to make an example of Redknapp, as a deterrent to any would-be tax dodgers.
A key factor in HMRC’s pursuit of Redknapp stemmed from his failure to disclose all of his accounts, having signed a certificate of full disclosure following a previous tax investigation. Taxpayers are strongly urged to disclose all accounts, including any overseas accounts which may even be dormant, to avoid the threat of investigation by the taxman.
Tax evasion is a serious issue which costs the UK economy £69.9 billion per year; however, it is important to distinguish this from legitimate tax avoidance techniques, such as the use of ISAs and pension plans through to remuneration and profit extraction planning, which can legally and acceptably help taxpayers to reduce their tax liabilities.
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