Crackdown on tax dodgers who hide their cash overseas: Osborne announces tough new measure that could help Britain recoup some of the £15 billion lost every year
- Britons hiding income in tax havens overseas to be made criminal offence
- Tough new measure was announced by George Osbourne at U.S. meeting
- It could help recoup some of £15billion in tax that goes missing each year
- HMRC estimates that outright tax evasion costs the Exchequer £5billion
Britain is to declare war on tax dodging by making it a criminal offence for residents to hide income in tax havens overseas.
The tough new measure, announced by George Osborne at a meeting of finance ministers in the U.S., could help recoup some of the £15billion in personal tax and national insurance that goes missing each year.
HM Revenue & Customs estimates that outright tax evasion costs the Exchequer £5billion.
The Chancellor said: ‘We are changing the balance of the law, so HMRC don’t have to prove someone intended to hide their money offshore to evade tax, just that they did so and didn’t pay tax.
The message is clear with this new criminal offence: if you are evading tax, there is no safe haven and we will find you.’
The legislation will be attached to the finance bill, currently in the House of Commons, and will be published first thing on Monday morning.
The decision was unveiled in Washington as part of a clampdown by the powerful G20 group of economies.
At present, UK tax inspectors at HMRC have to show ‘an intent’ to evade taxes when they find earned and non-earned income hidden in overseas havens.
These havens range from what the Chancellor called ‘countries beginning with L in Europe’ – Luxembourg and Liechtenstein – to UK crown territories and remote Pacific Islands.