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Government launches new disclosure facility for offshore tax evasion

13 Sep 2016

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has launched a new online disclosure facility, designed to give those with hidden offshore wealth a ‘last chance’ to come clean in regards to their tax affairs.

The Worldwide Disclosure Facility (WDF) provides a final chance for those with outstanding tax on undeclared offshore money or assets to put their affairs in order, ahead of the introduction of tougher penalties for offshore tax evasion.   

These penalties will be implemented after 30 September 2018.

Meanwhile, new data sharing arrangements, which will detail the offshore activities of UK taxpayers, will be introduced in October 2016.

Those who make use of the WDF will be required to pay their tax in full, including interest. Tax evaders will face a minimum penalty of 30% of the tax due, and could still face criminal prosecution.

Previously, the Government has introduced a package of measures designed to toughen sanctions for those involved in offshore tax evasion.

These measures include a new criminal offence for tax evasion, civil sanctions for those who facilitate offshore tax evasion and increased civil sanctions for those participating in offshore tax evasion.  

Jennie Granger, Director General of Enforcement and Compliance at HMRC, commented: ‘HMRC is getting even tougher on tax evasion.

‘We relentlessly pursue tax evaders to ensure they pay every penny of the taxes and fines they owe, pushing for the toughest possible sanctions where appropriate.

‘Our message couldn’t be clearer: there are no safe havens left for tax evaders and no-one should be in any doubt that the days of hiding money offshore with impunity are gone.’