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Come clean, HMRC tells ‘island tax evaders’

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HMRC has invited ‘tax cheats’ who have been hiding investments in the Isle of Man, Guernsey or Jersey to pay the tax they owe before HMRC clamps down on them. Details of new disclosure facilities allowing people to voluntarily settle their tax affairs have been published on the HMRC website.

HMRC said: ‘The tax evaders have until 30 of September 2016 to disclose hidden assets were investments and pay the tax, interest and any penalties due. At the end of this period, HMRC will automatically receive information from banks in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man identifying all account holders.’

Those who ignore the disclosure opportunity could face ‘criminal prosecution, significantly higher penalties, and the risk of having their names published’. HMRC’s announcement follows the agreement of a package of measures with the Crown Dependencies in February and March.

 UK and G5 partners announce deal on automatic tax information exchange

Exchequer secretary David Gauke said: ‘The net is closing on those seeking to hide their money offshore to evade their tax responsibilities … The HMRC centre of excellence for tackling offshore tax evasion, which received additional funding in the Budget, is already bearing fruit.’

Jennie Granger, HMRC’s director general for enforcement and compliance, said that people with overseas assets or investments who have correctly declared income and paid tax have nothing to fear. ‘Those who haven’t, and who do not make use of the disclosure facilities, face the prospect of a criminal investigation or a significant financial penalty, and the risk of having their name published once the new information sharing agreement kicks in.’