The taxman's efforts to crack down on hidden money offshore has seen a 14% jump in revenue for HM Revenue and Customs, the Financial Times reports.
In the 2018-19 financial year, HM Revenue & Customs' offshore, corporate and wealthy unit netted £560m from investigations into British taxpayers with offshore assets and income, up from £490m in 2017-18; a 14%. The data also revealed a 72% increase in tax collected since 2016-17 when £325m was raised.
The figures mark the second year of stark growth for the offshore, corporate and wealthy unit. Back in 2016-17, £325m was raised by the team, the figures obtained by the FT after a Freedom of Information Act reveal from payroll and tax compliance firm Access Financial.
Gone are the days when taxpayers who frequently worked or owned assets in different countries were able to slip between the cracks"
It revealed that 827 investigations were launched in 2018-19 by the OCW unit, which was founded after the 2015 "Panama Papers" leak of 11.5m documents related to offshore entities in the Central American country.
Access Financial chief executive Kevin Austin told the FT: "HMRC's new offshore unit is becoming much better at focusing its resources on the biggest tax threats. Gone are the days when taxpayers who frequently worked or owned assets in different countries were able to slip between the cracks."
Following a recent campaign to encourage UK taxpayers to declare any foreign income or profits on offshore assets, accountancy firms have noticed a surge in enquiries regarding offshore assets.
The UK is just one of more than 100 countries who has introduced new legislation, namely the ‘Requirement to Correct'. The new law dictates that all participating countries will be able to exchange data on financial accounts under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS). CRS data will significantly enhance HMRC's ability to detect offshore non-compliance. It is therefore in taxpayers' interests to correct any non-compliance before that data is received.
"Despite the passing of the recent deadline, as a UK taxpayer, you must still come forward to declare any offshore assets or income. It still remains better to disclose than to get caught and face penalties. All tax liabilities relating to income subject to tax in the UK must be declared," Lee Bradley, Tax Director at Bevan Buckland LLP, said.