I was curious about why I was getting so much blog traffic over the last few days, so I did a bit of digging. The answer is simple: if you put words like 'tax amnesty UK' into a search engine this site comes up pretty high on any list, linking to articles like this.
This says one simple thing to me: there are a lot of people out there who are very worried about the data HM Revenue & Customs have from offshore and are looking to confess. I hope accountants are ready for this.
I also hope the Revenue will be robust. I have major reservations about tax amnesties in case they become habitual, as happens in Italy. If we are to have one for offshore interest then I can live with it on these conditions. The first is that it is one off. The second is that it gets massive publicity so that no one can say they didn't know about it. The third is that the time limit is not too long - say six months at most. The fourth is that the amnesty relates only to the offshore interest. If the source of money giving rise to it has not been taxed then normal penalties should arise. And I hope they are imposed with vigour. I have no time for criminal tax conduct.
I guess there's one final condition on all this. I'd like a lot of publicity about the role of our banks and credit card companies in this. They are not innocent as they'd like to claim. And if they claim they are then they're something else instead, and no one likes to be called stupid.