Tax barrister George Rowell comments on the Paradise Papers leak

November 6, 2017

The Paradise Papers are the largest leak in history with more than 13.4 million files revealing the workings of the tax haven industry.

The cache of documents offer a rare insight into the complex offshore structures used by multinationals and wealthy individuals to minimise their tax bills.

George Rowell from Exchange Chambers has specialised in tax disputes throughout his time as a barrister. He ‘cut his teeth’ in-house with HM Customs & Excise and HM Revenue & Customs before moving to successful independent practice. Historically the majority of his tax instructions came from HMRC, but in recent years he has built a strong following amongst private-sector solicitors, accountants and tax advisors.

Commenting on the Paradise Papers, George Rowell said:

“This incident of illegal hacking should not obscure the fact that HMRC now have much greater legal powers to obtain information about offshore investments.

“Any UK resident with undeclared offshore assets or income would be well advised to put their affairs in order before HMRC catch up with them. If bona fide tax planning was entered into on professional advice, the taxpayer may have a complete defence to any tax penalty or at least strong grounds for mitigation.”

George is the joint author of Tax Penalties: A Practitioner’s Guide (Sweet & Maxwell, 2017, 781pp).