Treasury Hires Team to Target Tax Evaders

Monday, October 31, 2011 Print Email

A new tax team launched today aims to be a major weapon for the government as it goes on the offensive against tax dodgers amongst Britain’s super rich.

Targeting wealthy earners paying tax above the 50% threshold, and with assets of up to £20m, the team will focus its attention on off-shore property and investments currently escaping the taxman.

Speaking at the launch of the initiative, Treasury secretary, David Gauke said: ‘The government is committed to tackling tax evasion and avoidance across all areas of the economy.

‘With HMRC’s increased capability and expertise, and its increasing success in tackling evasion both at home and offshore, the message is clear: there is no hiding place for tax cheats’, added Gauke. Initially, the team will primarily be concentrating on illegal tax-evaders, but a HMRC spokesman confirmed that they will also ‘look at tax-avoidance schemes’ used on holiday homes and other foreign investments.

Government officials are hoping that as much as £560m could be brought into the tax purse by the team over the next four years, from the estimated 350,000 UK residents that fall into this ‘super rich’ bracket.

The group of 200 investigators and tax specialists are part of a team of over 2,000 new staff that Treasury chief secretary, Douglas Alexander, described as the ‘affluence team, when speaking at the Liberal Democrat conference in September.

Those earning more than the £20m threshold will be targeted by the High Net Worth Unit, a separate arm of the government’s tax avoidance unit.

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