Britain launches tax evasion clamp down

| 19/09/2010

(BBC): The UK government is pledging to raise billions of pounds by clamping down on "morally indefensible" tax evasion, a senior Lib Dem minister has said. Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander announced plans to attack offshore havens and other tax "dodges". He told the party’s conference the measures could raise £7bn a year by 2015, helping to cut the deficit. The Lib Dems have come under pressure from supporters to show that the wealthy will shoulder a fair share of the burden as the coalition government seeks to plug the hole in its finances. Unveiling plans agreed with the Chancellor George Osborne, Alexander said the authorities would get £900m extra in financial support for the "ruthless" pursuit of tax evaders and those who use legal loopholes to minimize their tax bills.

Ministers want to see a fivefold increase in prosecution for tax evasion and Revenue & Customs will be given in extra resources to create a dedicated team of investigators to bear down on offshore tax havens and online tax evasion.
"There are some people who seem to believe that not paying their fair share of tax is a lifestyle choice that is socially acceptable," he said. "Tax avoidance and evasion are unacceptable in the best of times but in today’s circumstances it is morally indefensible. We will be ruthless with those often wealthy people and businesses who think they can treat paying tax as an optional extra."
Tax evasion and avoidance cost the Treasury an estimated £14bn a year and successive governments have vowed to take action against it.
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