The UK revenue agency on Tuesday is due to announce stiffer penalties for offshore personal tax evaders after raising £1.5bn in revenue through increased payments and penalties over the last two years.
HM Revenue & Customs will launch a consultation on a new criminal offence of failing to declare taxable offshore income and gains, including safeguards to ensure the “proportionality” of the measure.
Last April George
Osborne, chancellor of the exchequer, announced that the government
would consult on plans to introduce a new strict liability criminal offence for
individuals who hide their money offshore.
As well as introducing the new criminal offence, the government will consult on
a range of options building on the existing penalties faced by those hiding
their money in offshore accounts - - currently up to 200 percent of the tax owed
- - to make sure they act as a clear and effective deterrent.
HMRC said the offence would apply to cases over a
certain threshold, ensuring that only “significant” non-compliance was punished.
A person’s state of mind will not be accepted as
a defence meaning the prosecution in a court will only need to demonstrate that
a person failed to correctly declare the offshore income or gains, and not that
they did so with the intention of defrauding the Exchequer.
Separately, up to a quarter of a million European migrants will pay tax in Britain for the first time, under plans being prepared by George Osborne, the Daily Telegraph reported last week.
Temporary workers from the European Union will be stripped of the right to use the £10,000 tax-free personal allowance under Treasury proposals.
It means that up to 250,000 labourers, agricultural workers, cleaners and bar staff from the EU working in Britain who currently earn less than £10,000 will pay tax on their earnings for the first time. It means that, in effect, they will earn 20 per cent less than their UK counterparts who will be able to keep all of their earnings below the personal allowance.
Tax experts suggested the move would result in fewer migrants coming to Britain for temporary work.
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