HM Revenue and Customs
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HMRC launches new offshore unit
A new specialist unit targeting offshore tax cheats has been launched by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
The Offshore Co-Ordination Unit (OCU) brings together a team of highly-skilled offshore analysts, technical tax experts and experienced investigators, who will oversee and co-ordinate HMRC’s compliance work to identify and pursue those who hide income and capital in offshore accounts to avoid UK tax and duties.
The unit will look to fully exploit the increasing amount of offshore information at HMRC’s disposal, including bank account data. They will then use this intelligence to develop innovative new ways of tackling offshore tax evasion.
The OCU will continue to build on the success of HMRC’s Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF) and co-ordinate the recently announced activity in relation to HSBC Geneva account holders. It will also implement the operational aspects of the recently signed tax agreement between Switzerland and the UK, which is expected to raise billions of pounds for the UK.
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said:
“The days when untaxed income or capital could be safely salted away offshore, beyond the reaches of the taxman, are long gone.
“The launch of this specialist unit, together with the other valuable work the department is driving forward in an effort to tackle offshore evasion, underlines the fact that offshore tax cheats are fast running out of places to hide.”
Notes for editors
1. This is the first instalment of 100 new offshore investigators announced by Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, on 18 September 2011.
2. The Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility allows people with unpaid tax linked to investments or assets in Liechtenstein to settle their tax liability under a special arrangement, and will run until 31 March 2015. For more information visit www.hmrc.gov.uk/disclosure/liechtenstein-disclosure.htm.
3. Further details of the recently signed UK/Swiss tax agreement, and the activity in relation to HSBC Geneva account holders, are contained in HMRC news releases NAT 79/11 and NAT 81/11, respectively.
4. Follow HMRC on Twitter @HMRCgovuk.
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