Record tax requests from overseas tax authorities

RECORD NUMBERS of requests for information about UK-based foreign nationals have been lodged by overseas tax authorities with the UK government.

Requests for information about taxpayers from overseas tax authorities surged by 18% in the last year, according to law firm Pinsent Masons.

In 2011/12, HMRC received 1,852 requests for information about individuals from overseas authorities, under double taxation agreements, compared to 1,564 in 2010/11.

The most requests came from Norway, which made 577 requests, followed by France with 225, Spain with 92 and India which made 37.

Pinsent Masons tax director Phil Berwick said: “The presence of France and Spain in the top five countries requesting data isn’t surprising. Faced with the prospect of tax increases, it looks like some of France and Spain’s wealthiest individuals have gratefully accepted David Cameron’s offer to ‘roll out the red carpet’ for them.”

According to French consulate estimates, London is home to about 400,000 French citizens, making London the 6th largest ‘French’ city.

He added the rise in requests demonstrates that tax authorities worldwide are under pressure to maximise their revenues.

“It is not just HMRC that is piling the pressure on taxpayers. The jump in requests shows there are very few places to hide for wealthy individuals who may be trying to avoid tax by moving their assets around the globe. 

“International borders are increasingly meaningless for tax authorities’ pursuit of outstanding taxes,” he said.

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