The HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has proposed new and tougher penalties for tax evaders who conceal earnings from offshore investments.
If implemented, tax dodgers would have to pay up to three times the tax they try to evade and increase their risk of potential criminal charges.
Beginning October 2016, HMRC will start receiving data on the offshore finances of UK taxpayers, which is “a game-changer in the fight against evasion”, Treasury financial secretary Jane Ellison said.
“Every penny of tax that people evade deprives our public services of essential funding and we are focused on collecting all tax that is due,” Ellison said.
From 2017, HMRC will get hold of more data to clamp down on tax dodgers as the common reporting standard becomes effective.
HMRC director general of enforcement and compliance Jennie Granger said: “HMRC is getting tougher on tax evasion. It’s a crime which unfairly places a greater burden on the vast majority of people and businesses who pay the tax that they owe on time.
“We are determinedly tackling this. We will find those who think they can dodge paying tax in this country. We’ve closed old disclosure facilities, increased penalties, and ramped up our powers to tackle evaders and those that help others evade – the days of any safe havens for tax evaders are numbered.”
At the same time, HMRC will also open its Worldwide Disclosure Facility (WDF) from 5 September 2016 to allow those with outstanding tax to pay their dues.
In 2014-15 HMRC‘s initiatives to combat tax evasion fetched £26.6bn, and since 2010, it has raised over £2.5bn from offshore evasion initiatives.