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HMRC empowered to name and shame tax evasion enablers

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has been given the power to publicise advisers who encourage taxpayers to pursue offshore tax evasion avenues and avoid paying the full amount of tax owed to the Treasury.

The Treasury has confirmed that individuals and corporations who take deliberate action to help others evade paying the tax they owe will face significant financial penalties of up to 100% of the tax they helped evade or £3,000 – whichever is highest.

The ruling, first announced by former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne in the 2015 Budget, will thwart those who help to physically transfer funds overseas or advise on offshore tax saving.

Jane Ellison, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Tax evasion is a crime and as a government we have led reform of the international tax system to root it out.

“Closer to home we are creating a tax system where taxes are fair, competitive and paid.

“The raft of measures we have introduced to tackle avoidance and evasion will create a level playing field for the vast majority of people and businesses who play fair and pay what is due.”

HMRC has successfully recouped £2.5bn from offshore tax evaders since 2010 and from New Year’s Day, the tax authority can also correct past tax evasion, which will see anyone who has failed to correct past evaded taxes by 30th September 2018 stung with fresh fines.

Prime Minister, Theresa May, pledged during last year’s leadership campaign to pursue corporations and individuals who deliberately evaded paying tax in the UK.

“It doesn’t matter to me whether you’re Amazon, Google or Starbucks: you have a duty to put something back, you have a debt to fellow citizens and you have a responsibility to pay your taxes,” said May.

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