It has been discovered that around 500,000 British taxpayers have stashed funds away abroad and they now face severe HMRC tax penalties, of up to 200%, if they are found to have evaded tax.
An HMRC official said:
“This is not just about the very wealthy – we’ve even found chip shop owners, taxi drivers and landladies from Blackpool with offshore accounts. We are not out to victimise these people but we are determined to ensure we receive what we are owed.”
So how have HMRC ‘discovered’ these accounts?
HMRC have obtained names and details of people with offshore accounts through obligatory data sharing with a number of banks in a number of different jurisdictions. However, at least 7,000 of those names came from Herve Falciani, a disgruntled HSBC employee from their Geneva branch who stole a disk containing the names of 79,000 account holders from 180 countries and sold it to the French authorities. In turn, the French officials passed the data on to different governments who have launched tax investigations into the information. It has been reported that as many as 3,000 of the bank’s British clients have engaged in tax evasion leaving HMRC rubbing their hands together in glee.
The accounts of Britons named in the list, now known as “the Falciani list” hold combined assets of £13bn and HMRC are confident they will raise tens of millions of pounds in unpaid taxes.
HMRC are using a new IT system that analyses data on where people live, their financial assets, their pay and how much tax they pay in order to look for any anomalies. This, they hope, will help finding tax dodgers much easier.
According to reports, HMRC have in recent weeks arrested eight people and interviewed five under caution in connection with offshore bank accounts so it seems as though the Government’s widely publicised threat of cracking down on tax evasion really is coming into fruition. If you haven’t paid your taxes and have money or assets hidden around the world, you NEED to declare it to HMRC.
A voluntary disclosure to HMRC gives way to lower tax penalties and if you declare it sooner rather than later then there will be less interest to pay to HMRC.
KinsellaTax are the ones to make your offshore disclosure to HMRC for you.
To speak to one of our experts today call 0800 471 4546 or click here to fill in a tax enquiry form.