Penalties for offshore tax evaders will double

Penalties for people who fail to declare money in offshore accounts in countries that do not share information with HMRC will double.

From April 6, the level of fines for failing to declare money held in offshore accounts, for the purposes of income tax or capital gains tax, will be linked to the tax transparency of that state.

Under the new rules, announced today, those who fail to declare tax on money held in countries that refuse to exchange information with HMRC face fines of 200 per cent of their tax bill, up from 100 per cent.

Those with money in states that share information with the UK only on request could see a possible penalty of 150 per cent.

The penalty for incomplete or inaccurate declarations on money held in the UK will remain at 100 per cent of tax due, with fines liable to reduction depending on how helpful the individual is in establishing the correct amount of tax due.

Treasury exchequer secretary David Gauke says: “The game is up for those going offshore to evade tax. With the risk of a penalty going up to 200 per cent of the tax evaded, they have a great incentive to get their tax affairs in order.

“We are serious about tackling offshore evasion. Hiding tax liabilities offshore believing you will never be discovered is no longer a realistic hope.”

You can see which countries come under each category here.