Off-shore tax avoidance crackdown

Tax formA fresh crackdown on offshore tax evasion has been launched after HM Revenue and Customs said it had received data showing "extensive" use of schemes to hide assets.

HMRC is working with the United States and Australia to analyse 400 gigabytes of data showing the use of tax evasion schemes via companies and trusts in territories around the world including Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Cook Islands.
It is understood to be the biggest tranche of information ever received by HMRC about offshore tax evasion and it has so far identified more than 100 people who are benefiting from these tax evasion schemes, with a number of individuals already being investigated.

HMRC has also identified more than 200 UK accountants, lawyers and other professional advisers who advise on setting up these structures who will also be scrutinised.
It is calling on anyone using offshore tax schemes to seek advice to ensure they are not breaking the law, which can result in criminal prosecution, hefty fines and possible naming and shaming.

Chancellor George Osborne said: "The message is simple: if you evade tax, we're coming after you.

"The Government has invested hundreds of millions of pounds to fund the fight against tax evasion, both at home and abroad. This data is another weapon in HMRC's arsenal."

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) said while it welcomed moves to clamp down on tax evasion, "we should never lose sight of the fact that it is a small number of people who are evading tax in these markets".

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at ACCA, added: "The majority of accountants, lawyers and other professional advisers, as well as their clients, are not breaking any laws in these locations.

"There is a large gulf between what amounts to tax avoidance, which is within the law, and tax evasion, which is illegal."

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HMRC's biggest tax cheats of 2012
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Off-shore tax avoidance crackdown

Jailed for evading over £4.5 million in VAT due on platinum trading.

Jailed for evading over £4.5 million in VAT due on platinum trading.

A gang which described over 20 million smuggled cigarettes on shipping documents as babies’ toys was jailed after a covert surveillance operation.

Sentenced in 2012: Phillip William Robinson, Vincent Waller, Phillip William Hall, Christopher John Burns and Andrius Kochanauskas – 13 years 1 month

A gang which described over 20 million smuggled cigarettes on shipping documents as babies’ toys was jailed after a covert surveillance operation.

Sentencing: Paul O’Meara, Robert Doran, Patrick Gray, Martin Cleland, Mark Sadgrove, Wayne Stock and Matthew Neale – 24 years 6 months

A gang which described over 20 million smuggled cigarettes on shipping documents as babies’ toys was jailed after a covert surveillance operation.

Sentencing: Paul O’Meara, Robert Doran, Patrick Gray, Martin Cleland, Mark Sadgrove, Wayne Stock and Matthew Neale – 24 years 6 months

Part of a criminal gang which set up a factory capable of making up to 625 million counterfeit cigarettes and five million pouches of fake hand rolling tobacco a year.

Part of a criminal gang which set up a factory capable of making up to 625 million counterfeit cigarettes and five million pouches of fake hand rolling tobacco a year.

Part of a criminal gang which set up a factory capable of making up to 625 million counterfeit cigarettes and five million pouches of fake hand rolling tobacco a year.

The gang set up a chain of bogus companies to trade fraudulently in EU emissions allowances.

Sentenced in 2012: Sandeep Singh Dosanjh, Navdeep Singh Gill and Ranjot Singh Chahal – 35 years

The gang set up a chain of bogus companies to trade fraudulently in EU emissions allowances.

Sentenced in 2012: Sandeep Singh Dosanjh, Navdeep Singh Gill and Ranjot Singh Chahal – 35 years

Roy Faichney, Managing Director of Vantis Tax Ltd, was sentenced to four years for his part in a fraudulent tax avoidance scheme which left charities and Exchequer out of pocket.

The gang claimed to have sold four million mobile phones worth £1.7 billion. However, in many cases the phones did not exist. In an attempt to make the trade appear legitimate, over 5,700 fake business transactions were created to claim large amounts of VAT.

Sentenced in 2012: Lee Sellers, Mehmood Khan Nazir, Umar Khan Nazir and Marshall Boston – 10 years 6 months

The gang claimed to have sold four million mobile phones worth £1.7 billion. However, in many cases the phones did not exist. In an attempt to make the trade appear legitimate, over 5,700 fake business transactions were created to claim large amounts of VAT.

Sentenced in 2012: Lee Sellers, Mehmood Khan Nazir, Umar Khan Nazir and Marshall Boston – 10 years 6 months

HMRC

The gang claimed to have sold four million mobile phones worth £1.7 billion. However, in many cases the phones did not exist. In an attempt to make the trade appear legitimate, over 5,700 fake business transactions were created to claim large amounts of VAT.

Sentenced in 2012: Lee Sellers, Mehmood Khan Nazir, Umar Khan Nazir and Marshall Boston – 10 years 6 monthsgang claimed to have sold four million mobile phones worth £1.7 billion. However, in many cases the phones did not exist. In an attempt to make the trade appear legitimate, over 5,700 fake business transactions were created to claim large amounts of VAT.

Sentenced in 2012: Lee Sellers, Mehmood Khan Nazir, Umar Khan Nazir and Marshall Boston – 10 years 6 monthse gang claimed to have sold four million mobile phones worth £1.7 billion. However, in many cases the phones did not exist. In an attempt to make the trade appear legitimate, over 5,700 fake business transactions were created to claim large amounts of VAT.

Sentenced in 2012: Lee Sellers, Mehmood Khan Nazir, Umar Khan Nazir and Marshall Boston – 10 years 6 months

Sentenced in 2012: Lee Sellers, Mehmood Khan Nazir, Umar Khan Nazir and Marshall Boston – 10 years 6 months

A criminal gang has been jailed for one of the biggest ever alcohol smuggling frauds ever uncovered in the UK. The scam was worth £50m a year in unpaid duty and VAT.

Sentenced in 2012: Kevin Ramon Burrage, Gary Dennis Clarke, Michael Brian Turner and Davinder Singh Dhaliwal – 21 years 3 months

A criminal gang has been jailed for one of the biggest ever alcohol smuggling frauds ever uncovered in the UK. The scam was worth £50m a year in unpaid duty and VAT.

Sentenced in 2012: Kevin Ramon Burrage, Gary Dennis Clarke, Michael Brian Turner and Davinder Singh Dhaliwal – 21 years 3 months

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