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Tough new sanctions for offshore tax evaders

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TAX EVADERS are set to face tough new sanctions under plans detailed by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) today.

The proposals will mean that those who do not come forward and pay outstanding taxes from offshore investments and accounts, could face even tougher penalties of up to three times the tax they try to evade, and increase their risk of potential criminal charges

From October 2016, HMRC will start to receive an unprecedented amount of data on those with offshore accounts in the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories – one year ahead of even more data coming in from across the globe, when the Common Reporting Standard comes into force.

Financial secretary to the Treasury, Jane Ellison, said: “This is a game-changer in the fight against evasion and it’s time for anyone who is evading tax to do the right thing and pay what they owe.”

Alongside these changes, HMRC will open its Worldwide Disclosure Facility (WDF) from the 5 September 2016. The WDF, announced at Budget 2015, allows those with outstanding tax to pay to put their affairs in order and will offer no special terms. HMRC will release further details when it opens.

HMRC has been clear that not paying tax by failing to disclose your offshore income and investments is illegal. In 2014-15 HMRC brought in £26.6bn from tackling tax evasion and avoidance and since 2010 has raised more than £2.5bn from offshore evasion initiatives.

Today’s action builds on the wide range of measures introduced by the government to toughen sanctions for all those involved in offshore tax evasion. This includes a new criminal offence for tax evasion, increased civil sanctions for offshore tax evaders, and civil sanctions for those who enable offshore evasion.

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