Budget 2010: Offshore evaders face 200% penalty

by Phil Smith

24 Mar 2010

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Tax evaders that hide their money offshore now face penalties of up to 200% of the tax due, government papers have confirmed.

Following a consultation launched in the 2009 Pre-Budget Report, the government is set to legislate to ensure that those who fail to declare income and gains from jurisdictions that do not automatically exchange information with the UK will face much tougher penalties.

The government is also warning that it will look further at what information it needs to collect on offshore assets, including offshore bank accounts.

The move follows two amnesties granted by the government that allowed tax payers to declare offshore income and face penalties as low as 10%. Separately, the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility, which will run until 31 March 2015, is expected to net nearly £1bn for the government in undeclared taxes, interest and penalties.

Cathy Corns, tax partner at Mercer & Hole, said: ‘The revenue is losing patience – there have been three amnesties, including the Liechtenstein deal, and so it now feels it has the right to hit tax evaders hard.’

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