Benefits to making a Voluntary and Unprompted Tax Disclosure to HMRC

Published: 30/11/2023 By Dean Clark


Navigating the complex world of taxation can be challenging; individuals and businesses can sometimes find themselves unintentionally making mistakes or omissions in their tax affairs.

In such cases, making a ‘voluntary’ and ‘unprompted’ tax disclosure to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) can be a wise decision.

In the UK, HMRC has been granted various powers and tools to detect tax evasion and ensure compliance with tax laws. Some of these powers have evolved and expanded over the years, giving HMRC a far-reaching ability to uncover tax evasion.
Set out below are just some of the reasons why individuals and businesses should consider making a voluntary and unprompted disclosure as a proactive approach towards resolution.

Legal Obligation

First and foremost, it's important to understand that individuals and businesses are legally obligated to pay the correct amount of tax. Deliberately underreporting income or assets can lead to serious consequences, including penalties, interest charges and even criminal prosecution.

By making a voluntary disclosure to HMRC, this actively demonstrates a commitment and willingness to want to fulfil a legal obligation, and to rectifying any errors be that deliberate or unintentional.

Reduced Penalties  

When voluntarily disclosing errors or omissions to HMRC, it may be possible to then qualify for reduced penalties. HMRC offer incentives for those who come forward before they are under investigation or audit.

By taking the initiative to correct these tax affairs, there can be a significant reduction in the financial burden associated with penalties and interest charges.

Avoid Criminal Prosecution!  

In cases where individuals or businesses have intentionally evaded taxes, criminal prosecution is a real possibility. By voluntarily disclosing all tax irregularities and/or discrepancies, once again this demonstrates a willingness to cooperate and make amends.

This can go a long way in avoiding criminal charges, which can have severe consequences, including fines and imprisonment.

Peace of Mind

For businesses and individuals, a clean tax record is essential for maintaining a positive reputation. A voluntary tax disclosure to HMRC can help protect a reputation, by showing commitment to honesty and compliance

It can also reduce the risk of adverse publicity or damage to one’s professional standing.

Transparent and Ethical Behaviour

Engaging in transparent and ethical behaviour when it comes to taxes is not only a legal obligation but also a moral one.

Voluntarily disclosing tax discrepancies demonstrates a commitment to ethical practices, both from a personal, and business perspective. It is a way to uphold integrity and set a positive example for others.

Simplified Resolution

Addressing tax issues voluntarily and proactively can often lead to a simpler and quicker resolution process.

HMRC may be more inclined to work with an individual/business, to correct the errors, potentially expediting the resolution and reducing the associated stress, worry and disruption to life and/or business.


Making a voluntary and unprompted tax disclosure to HMRC is a responsible and prudent course of action. It not only helps to address one’s legal obligations, but also offers a range of benefits, including reduced penalties, avoidance of criminal prosecution, peace of mind and the protection of reputation.

If someone has concerns about their tax situation, it is important that they take expert professional advice at the earliest opportunity. At turpin barker armstrong, we are always happy to speak with individuals, (on a strictly confidential basis), to discuss how our expertise and experience in dealing with such matters can help bring peace of mind and have a positive impact on both their financial and personal well-being.