Individuals who have been using offshore accounts in the Isle of Man, Guernsey or Jersey to evade tax are being offered the chance to make voluntary disclosures of any undeclared tax liabilities before facing investigation, HMRC has announced.
HMRC says anyone with hidden assets or investments in any of the Crown Dependencies has until 30 September 2016 to disclose the details and pay the tax, interest and any penalties due. At the end of this period, HMRC will automatically receive information from banks in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man identifying all account holders.
The department is warning that anyone who ignores the disclosure opportunity could face criminal prosecution, significantly higher penalties, and the risk of having their names published.
A package of measures designed for those hiding assets offshore was agreed between the UK and the governments of the Isle of Man in February 2013, and Guernsey and Jersey in March 2013.
Exchequer Secretary David Gauke said: 'While the majority of people and businesses pay what they owe, this government is determined to tackle the minority of tax evaders who don't. The HMRC centre of excellence for tackling offshore tax evasion, which received additional funding in the Budget, is already bearing fruit.'
HMRC estimates the disclosure opportunity and release of information will bring in over £1bn in previously unpaid tax over the next five years.