HMRC to clamp down on offshore tax evasion penalties in 2016

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has issued a warning to those with offshore assets that they will face tougher sanctions if they fail to declare their tax affairs.

Presently, individuals can use disclosure facilities to reduce penalties and prevent criminal proceedings from being instigated.

However, from 2016, a ‘tougher’ facility with stricter penalties will replace these disclosure arrangements.

The new measures will permit HMRC to enforce fines of a minimum of 30% of the tax owed on those who continue to avoid paying.

People who do not divulge their income from either dividends or interest, along with people who own property abroad and those with offshore bank accounts will be made to pay the amounts that they owe.

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In 2017, a new automatic exchange system will give the Government the ability to share information on individuals’ personal financial affairs with over 90 countries around the world.

David Gauke, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, stated: ‘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.’

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