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In basic terms, no! Remember Benjamin Franklin's dictum that the only 2 certainties in life are death and taxes! As you have lost your records you have little alternative but to politely ask HMRC for a full breakdown of assessments year by year and then appeal these assessments if appropriate even though such appeals will effectively be out of time. I would be inclined to push your`inability to properly deal with your`tax affairs in a timely manner through illness from which you have now fortunately recovered. In my experience HMRC tend to be helpful to those who make a genuine effort, albeit late, to put their affairs in order. If you have over paid tax then it may well be taken into account. I recall one case where a colleague did 10 years of VAT returns one after another, the client having always just paid the VAT man's assessment, to rationalise the position and recovered the over payments!
Thank you for your response. I guess I knew that. How would you suggest I initiate the dialogue. I run a small business now in Singapore that is pretty short on cash so I don't want to make an offer I can't live up to. Should I 'ride it' until cashflow is better and make a settlement offer? Thing is I have no records from 2004 until I came to Singapore Dec 2010. It was a real mess
Forget Singapore and the cash shortages there. Find out what HMRC are actually on about as I suggested and if their assessments are simply outrageous, which can happen, then, if you can, take them to task. Once the position is clear to your satisfaction then by all means make an offer providing you can keep up to the terms. With you overseas I can't see HMRC refusing a reasonable settlement. After all, with you outside the UK their recovery methods are somewhat restricted though they may well dun you at your ultimate port of entry! I am in the States at present and just going to bed. If you have further questions I will respond in the morning.