HMRC says data is revealing secrets of offshore accounts

Michael Bow
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HM REVENUE and Customs yesterday said it had gleaned the identities of hundreds of people benefiting from complex offshore accounts hiding assets overseas.

HMRC said it was working closely with US and Australian tax authorities on 400 gigabytes of data detailing the accounts, which also contains the details of hundreds of UK accountants, lawyers and other professional advisers who help set up such schemes. Early results show the use of companies and trusts in Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, and the Cook Islands.

HMRC commissioner Jennie Granger said while there was nothing illegal about international structures, offshore structure should not be used to illegally hide assets. Chancellor George Osborne said: “This data is another weapon in HMRC’s arsenal.”