HM Revenue and Customs
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No holiday havens for wealthy tax cheats

No holiday havens for wealthy tax cheats

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 31 October 2011

Wealthy tax cheats with overseas property are now being targeted by a new 200-strong team of investigators and specialists, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) announced today.

The newly-formed team started work this month, bringing together experts from across the department who will use new and innovative risk assessment techniques to identify areas where wealthy individuals are avoiding and evading taxes and duties.

One of the first groups being targeted is wealthy individuals who own land and property abroad. Sophisticated data mining techniques have been applied to publicly available information to identify individuals who own property abroad. HMRC risk assessment tools are then being used to highlight those people who do not appear able legitimately to afford the property, as well as those who do not appear to be declaring the correct income and gains from the property.

Other work currently planned involves commodity traders and people holding offshore accounts. Much of this work will be undertaken in co-ordination with other teams from across HMRC, including those who deal with corporate entities, residence and domicile issues, and trusts and estates. Further details will be announced in due course.

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said:

“The Government is committed to tackling tax evasion and avoidance across all areas of the economy. That is why we allocated HMRC £917m to reduce the tax gap over the next four years in the last Spending Review. This new team is part of that investment.

“With HMRC’s increased capability and expertise, and its increasing success in tackling evasion both at home and offshore, the message is clear: there is no hiding place for tax cheats.”

Notes for editors

1. The new HMRC “affluent team” was announced by Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, on 18 September 2011.

2. Follow HMRC on Twitter @HMRCgovuk.

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HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

Patrick O'Brien
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