Net closing in on offshore tax cheats, UK government warns
British offshore tax evaders are being warned that the UK Revenue and Customs Department (HMRC) will start to receive details on British taxpayers from more than 90 countries, including Cyprus, under new global agreements.
“The government is giving people one last chance to come clean and get their tax affairs in order,” said a news release from HMRC via the British High Commission in Nicosia.
“The existing disclosure facilities will be replaced by a new tougher, last chance facility from 2016. Those who continue to evade will face new tougher financial and criminal sanctions.”
Existing disclosure facilities – including Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility and Crown Dependency Disclosure Facilities – are set to close on 31 December 2015, the news release added.
The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke said: “Hiding money in another country at the expense of honest UK taxpayers is not acceptable and we have made it clear we will put a stop to it.
“Under our new regime the small minority who evade tax offshore, facilitate or turn a blind eye to offshore tax evasion will face tougher sanctions. With over 90 jurisdictions now agreeing to automatic exchanges of information, the net is closing in on offshore tax evaders.”
It warned that there was now just over a week left for people to use the current facilities to get their offshore tax affairs in order and pay the tax they owe plus any interest due.
HMRC said it already analyses vast amounts of data, including through its Connect system, helping to pinpoint people who are exploiting offshore structures to evade tax in the UK.