Cracking down on tax avoidance

Written on 13 February 2015

So the news breaks with another tax evasion scandal – HSBC have been exposed as helping their wealthiest of clients to evade tax…

And right on cue, it has been announced that from January 2016, the government will be taking new, more laborious measures to stop tax avoidance by those with investments overseas. Whole new levels of personal information will be made available to HMRC such as details of international bank accounts and investments as another crackdown procedure against tax evasion.

And this time, the UK government has allies – financial institutions in over 50 jurisdictions have joined together to drive the inter-governmental campaign. Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and Jersey are unexpectedly part of those that have signed up to the scheme and will be required to pass on information about bank accounts, trusts and investments held by UK taxpayers to HMRC.

The additional information is likely to give HMRC enough to go on to suspect potential tax evasion and therefore a significant increase in tax fraud investigations is likely to increase where overseas assets have not been properly disclosed in the past.