HM REVENUE & CUSTOMS has begun a probe into more than 200 advisers, lawyers and accountants suspected of using offshore trusts to illegally evade UK tax.
The investigation covers offshore jurisdictions including Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, and the Cook Islands, Accountancy Age’s sister publication IFAonline.co.uk reports.
HMRC has acquired a cache of 400 gigabytes of data, which it will be investigating further in the hope of bringing charges against those involved.
“The message is simple: if you evade tax, we’re coming after you,” said Chancellor George Osborne.
“The government has invested hundreds of millions of pounds to fund the fight against tax evasion, both at home and abroad. This data is another weapon in HMRC’s arsenal.”
HMRC commissioner Jennie Granger said while there was nothing illegal about international tax structures, many involved tax evasion.
“What has to stop is using offshore structures to illegally hide assets and income,” she said.
HMRC is continuing to ramp up the number of raids on premises it carries out as part of criminal investigations, searching 761 properties in the last year
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