The government’s tax office has launched fresh investigations into suspected tax evaders after receiving a huge haul of information about people using offshore schemes.
HM Revenue & Customs is analysing data supplied by authorities in the US and Australia to identify UK individuals using tax evasion schemes around the world. The work has yielded details of more than 100 people using offshore tax havens such as the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, many of whom are now under investigation.
HMRC is also looking at more than 200 lawyers, accountants and advisers involved in setting up offshore structures.
Jennie Granger, director-general for enforcement and compliance at HMRC, said: “There is nothing illegal about an international structure, especially in a globally integrated economy, and these arrangements may be perfectly legitimate and may already have been declared to HMRC.
“However, they may involve tax evasion, avoidance or other serious offences by taxpayers. What has to stop is using offshore structures to illegally hide assets and income,” she says.