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HMRC sees increase in offshore disclosures

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The number of wealthy UK taxpayers voluntarily disclosing unpaid tax on offshore assets jumped 35% from 3,301 to 4,443 in the 2020–21 tax year, according to data obtained by law firm Pinsent Masons through a Freedom of Information request.

The numbers reflect voluntary declarations by taxpayers made to HMRC’s Worldwide Disclosure Facility, with the increase reflecting HMRC’s efforts to warn taxpayers about the exchange of tax information between tax authorities. Under the Common Reporting Standard, HMRC receives information on taxpayers’ offshore income in over 100 countries including Switzerland, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands.

Sophie Warren, a tax investigations expert at Pinsent Masons said: ‘The Common Reporting Standard has changed the game regarding offshore income sources. Increasingly, HMRC already has all the information it needs to prosecute thousands of people.

‘HMRC will be looking for as many additional income sources as possible to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Going after hidden offshore income is likely to be high on their target list. As with any instance of unpaid tax, it is always better to get on the front foot and come forward rather than wait for HMRC to come knocking.’

Issue: 1572
Categories: News