Threat of Prison for Offshore Tax Evaders

Offshore Tax Evaders

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has announced new proposals, which mean that people who hide their cash in offshore accounts could face criminal charges, even if they did not intend to evade tax in the UK. Under the proposals, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will have the power to prosecute people who do not declare their foreign income, regardless of whether they intended to avoid the payment of tax. Currently, to secure a prosecution, HMRC have to be able to demonstrate that an individual intended to avoid tax on any foreign income earned. The proposal goes well beyond the announcements outlined in the budget in March, which also gave HMRC the power to take money directly from the bank account of individuals who receive more than £1,000 in tax or tax credits. The new proposals are part of HMRC’s ongoing campaign to recoup more of the £5 billion it estimates is lost in tax evasion each year.