Taxman ramps up search for international bank information

HER MAJESTY’S Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is increasingly asking overseas governments for information on accounts held outside of the UK.

The tax collectors are making more requests for information to overseas territories and crown dependencies of the UK, with 26 per cent more made in 2012 than 2011. The figure has more than doubled since 2010.

Pinsent Masons’ director Reg Day suggested that HMRC was starting to focus even more on tax evasion.

“Individuals and businesses with money sheltered offshore should get on the front foot before HMRC finds out and begins an investigation,” he said.

Many of the countries, like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Jersey, to which the UK has close diplomatic and historical links, are being pushed to release more information.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister David Cameron wrote a letter to the UK’s overseas territories and dependencies in an attempt to persuade leaders of the need for more transparency on tax.