AS2013: HMRC to improve systems to cope with information exchanges

HM REVENUE & CUSTOMS is to upgrade its offshore evasion strategy, in order to cope with data it receives from overseas territories and Crown dependencies signed up to tax information exchange deals.

The government has struck a string of automatic information exchange deals with a number of overseas territories and crown dependencies including the Cayman Islands, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.

On the current timetable, UK residents with assets concealed in the territories will have until September 2016 to disclose details to the taxman and pay any tax owed to the HMRC, as well as a fine between 10% and 20%. While in most cases, the deal will see evaders escape prosecution, HMRC offers no guarantees.

A consultation will be launched early in 2014 in order to further penalise those housing money offshore. As part of these plans HMRC will set up systems to cope with the influx of data, however, there is no further detail as to what this will entail.

Reeves tax partner Geraint Jones said: “This is evidently a ramping-up of HMRC’s battle against tax evasion using offshore vehicles and locations.”

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