Chief Secretary announces government action against tax avoidance

26 Sep 2012 01:44 PM

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander has today made a number of announcements about action the Government is taking to tackle tax avoidance.

HMRC Affluent Unit

Launched in October 2011, HMRC’s Affluent Unit brings together 200 specialists from across the department using new and innovative risk assessment techniques to identify areas where wealthy individuals are avoiding or evading taxes and duties.

The unit will be expanded to deal with taxpayers with a net worth of £1m instead of the current £2.5m. An extra 100 inspectors and specialists will be recruited to cover the tax affairs of 200,000 more individuals, an increase from around 300,000 under the current threshold, to the 500,000 wealthiest people in the country.

Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF)

The LDF is an agreement between the governments of Liechtenstein and the UK which enables UK residents to declare previously undisclosed liabilities to HMRC.  It is part of HMRC's broader drive against offshore tax evasion and will run until 5 April 2016.

The HMRC team working on the LDF is being doubled in size and is now expected to bring in £3bn, over £2bn more than anticipated when the agreement was signed. 

The Chief Secretary also announced that  HMRC and the Cabinet Office have been tasked with looking into how the Government can use the procurement process for government contracts to deter the very small minority of companies and individuals that do so from evading tax and using aggressive tax avoidance schemes.

Notes for Editors

1. The HMRC Affluent Unit was announced by Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, on 18 September 2011.

2. The Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility started on 1 September 2009 and is a proactive initiative which encourages individuals to voluntarily regularise their affairs.  It is underpinned by a commitment from Liechtenstein Financial Intermediaries that all their UK clients will be tax compliant from that date.  Any clients who cannot demonstrate compliance will have their financial services withdrawn or be subject to other sanctions.

Media enquiries about HMRC’s anti-avoidance work should be addressed to the HMRC Press Office on 020 7147 2321.

Media enquiries about the Chief Secretary should be addressed to the Treasury Press Office on 020 7270 5238.