Offshore tax evaders to face tough new criminal sanctions
08 September 2015
Offshore tax evaders and accountants who enable tax evasion may be imprisoned under new rules being brought in.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will consult on the following:
• A new criminal offence for offshore evasion, which means that in the worst cases it’s no longer possible to plead ignorance.
• A new criminal offence for companies who fail to prevent tax evasion or facilitate it.
• Increasing the financial penalties faced by evaders – including, for the first time, linking a penalty to the value of the asset hidden offshore.
• New civil penalties on those who facilitate evasion so they will face the same penalty as the tax evader.
• Publicly naming tax evaders and those who enable evasion.
Over 90 countries across the world have already signed up to automatically exchange information on taxpayers, and this further move will mean there is “nowhere left to hide for offshore tax evaders”, according to the Treasury’s financial secretary, David Gauke.
HMRC said it has collected over £2 billion from previously undisclosed offshore income through agreements with Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the Channel Islands, so perhaps it really is getting harder to hide.