Overseas requests to UK for tax crime help up 44%

Requests from foreign prosecutors to the UK for help with criminal tax investigations have gone up by 44% in the past year

The number of information requests related to tax offences committed by corporates or individuals sent to the UK reached 148 in 2018, up from 103 in 2017, according to Thomson Reuters.

These requests require businesses or individuals to provide documents such as transaction histories or bank statements, within a certain time period, or even give evidence in court.

The rise in requests reflects the growing cooperation between international law enforcement agencies in tackling tax evasion, in response to public and media outcry.

Tax offences have a become increasingly sophisticated and cross-border in nature, which makes it harder for individual law enforcement agencies to gather the evidence needed to prosecute a case.

However, there are several international taskforces, including the joint international taskforce on shared intelligence and collaboration, which is a global network of over 40 countries that collaborate on ways to identify and combat evasion.

Brian Peccarelli, chief operating officer at Thomson Reuters, said: ‘Tax authorities globally are increasingly working together to stamp out tax evasion.

‘Deeply integrated economies and lengthy supply chains mean investigating tax offences can be very difficult without collaboration. Information sharing networks can therefore be very important in increasing the chances of locating the offenders.’

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