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Offshore swoop could miss serious evaders

AES International managing director Sam Instone believes HM Revenue & Customs may fail to trap some of the biggest offshore tax dodgers in its latest probe as it is only targeting those with a UK address.

In recent years, HM Revenue & Customs has issued several banks with compulsory disclosure notices forcing them to surrender information relating to customers who have tax liabilities relating to undeclared offshore assets and income.

The notices under Finance Act 2008 grant HMRC access to information about clients who have some form of UK address and an offshore account. However, Instone says those involved in serious tax evasion are more likely to use offshore companies and trust vehicles and overseas addresses to evade the Revenue.

He says: “No one in their right mind is going to register an offshore account at their address in the UK if they are going to use it to evade tax.

eople who register in their own name are more likely to be doing so legitimately. Therefore, this legislation has missed out on the people that it was aimed at.

“It would be a shame if all the effort and money spent with the new disclosure opportunity failed to achieve its objective because the people evading do so by companies and trust vehicles and overseas registration of addresses such as holiday properties.”

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