HMRC campaign targets offshore account holders

As G20 ministers welcome a new global standard to automatic tax information exchange and call on the governments of financial centres to sign up to new international tax information sharing agreements, the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has launched a new campaign targeting taxpayers with money hidden in offshore accounts.

The UK has already entered into new information-sharing agreements with the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories which will provide HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) with access to more data than ever before on offshore accounts held by UK taxpayers.

The UK, following an agreement reached last year with France, Germany, Italy and Spain, will also move quickly to implement the new global standard on a multilateral basis. So far 42 countries and jurisdictions have joined this initiative that will lead to the rapid embedding of the new global standard and the removal of hiding places for tax evaders as HMRC uses new information to clamp down on tax evasion.

Any taxpayer who has declared all of their income has nothing to fear, but anyone who fails to do so will have to pay the tax itself as well as penalties of up to twice that sum, and could face imprisonment.

The launch of the campaign follows the G20 group of finance ministers’ further demonstration of its shared commitment to tackling global tax avoidance and evasion through agreements made at the G20 meeting in Australia over the weekend.

Endorsing the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) new global standard for automatic exchange of tax information, the group called on all financial centres to match the G20’s commitment to tackling tax evasion.

The G20 said that it will continue to focus on ensuring that developing countries benefit from automatic information sharing alongside developed economies.

The G20 finance ministers also restated their commitment to fighting profit shifting by multinational corporations to avoid paying tax. They said they look forward to progress in the OECD’s base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) project to reform the global tax rules and tackle profit-shifting by multinational companies as set out in the agreed timetable.

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