David Jetuah, Accountancy Age, Wednesday 28 July 2010 at 13:05:00

"Disappointing" number of people taking advantage of the LiechtensteinDisclosure Facility, says law firm McGrigors


419 taxpayers have registered for the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility outof the "thousands" eligible to do so, law firm McGrigors said today.

The low response rate to the LDF, which runs until 2015, comes after itemerged just 1,500 medical professionals had registered for a special taxamnesty out of the 30,000 believed to have undisclosed tax liabilities.

It had been hoped that the more favourable terms of the LDF amnesty,including only having to come clean about undeclared tax liabilities in offshoreaccounts going back ten years - compared to 20 years in the New DisclosureOpportunity - would act as a draw.

However, the law firm said HMRC figures showed just 419 taxpayers haveregistered for the LDF between 1 September 2009 and 31 March 2010. This comparesto approximately 10,000 who registered for the NDO.

Phil Berwick, director of tax investigations at McGrigors, said: "It issurprising how few taxpayers have registered for the LDF. Many more probablywould have done so, but were unaware that they qualified, or even that the LDFexisted."

"Many taxpayers could have reduced their tax, interest and penalty bill by asignificant amount by using the LDF. Overall, we could be talking about millionsof pounds here."

The taxman remained optimistic despite the relatively low numbers. "HMRC isvery pleased with the number of people who have so far voluntarily registeredfor LDF, and that the number doing so is steadily increasing.

"Unlike other short term disclosure opportunities, registration for LDF isavailable until 2015," he added.