HM Revenue & Customs has declared they will now begin a full-scale investigation of people with offshore accounts who have not paid tax due in the UK and failed to register for the tax amnesty.
The Special Civil Investigations unit will be brought in to administer heavy duty penalties and possible criminal proceedings to an estimated 40,000 tax evaders, according to the HMRC.
HMRC spokesperson Patrick O’Brien says while the HMRC will take a fair and reasonable approach to their investigations, anyone who has missed the deadline will face a penalty.
O’Brien says: “If people were overseas or sick and have a genuine reason for missing the deadline on the tax amnesty they will only have to pay a 30 to 40 per cent penalty, but people that contrived to hide tax evasion offshore will face heavy duty penalties of up to 100 per cent and possible jail time.
“There is a broad continuum of behaviour here and those at the upper end involved in serious fraud will face criminal proceedings.”
He says the HMRC has gathered additional intelligence on many of the 40,000
people still owing money in addition to the offshore account information provided by the banks.
“We want to fully investigate these people because if they are evading tax they may also be doing other things we are interested in hearing about.”