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Pursuit of possible tax evaders hits record high

The number of requests for data which UK tax authority Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) made to Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories on possible tax evaders hit a record high last year, Tax-News is reporting.

The publication says HMRC made 72 requests for financial data from territories such as the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and Jersey last year (ending December 31, 2012) regarding personal and business taxes, up 26 percent on the 57 in 2011 and 32 in 2010.

“The UK's Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories have come under increasing pressure from the UK Government in Whitehall to start cooperating more closely with HMRC in order to root out tax evaders,” Tax-News says.

“The news comes as HMRC finalises new tax compliance information sharing arrangements with the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories among other measures that are set to catch tax evaders.”

Under proposed tax compliance information sharing arrangements, HMRC will soon be able to obtain greater levels of information about bank accounts held by UK taxpayers in the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories automatically. The new rules will be closely modelled on the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act — US legislation which sets out new reporting requirements for foreign financial institutions with accounts held by US national residents overseas.

And in May, all Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories with significant financial centres announced a commitment to tackle tax evasion with the aim of setting a new standard of international tax transparency. Many of them have also agreed to sign up to the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters — a data sharing initiative led by the OECD.

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Published July 24, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated July 23, 2013 at 8:20 pm)

Pursuit of possible tax evaders hits record high

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