Overseas tax collectors aim for UK workers

OVERSEAS governments are increasingly likely to target tax evasion by UK-based foreign nationals, according to figures released today.

HMRC received 1,852 requests for information about individuals from overseas tax authorities in the 2011-12 financial year, according to law firm Pinsent Masons.

This is an 18 per cent increase on the previous year and is driven by London’s growing status as a hub for the world’s ultra-rich – and the desire among their mother countries to increase their tax take.

In 2011, the most requests for information came from Norway (577), followed by France (225), Spain (92), and India (37).

“The expertise of London in wealth management makes it a stable ‘haven’ for individuals looking to protect their assets from political or economic instability overseas,” said Phil Berwick at Pinsent Masons.

“As individuals move their assets to the UK, their home tax authority will take a keen interest in how those assets have been taxed.”

The requests were made under Double Taxation Agreements, which prevent an individual being taxed in two different countries. But they also allow governments to find out the value of assets that an individual has declared overseas.