Tax Avoidance (Individuals)

Thank you for contacting me about tax avoidance.

I completely agree that it is right to take decisive action to tackle tax avoidance and evasion, to ensure we have a fair tax system where everyone plays by the rules. The Government has been working to address imbalances in the system where some individuals benefit disproportionately from certain rules, and will also continue to tackle avoidance and evasion.

The UK has led the world in implementing the common reporting standard, to which more than 100 jurisdictions have signed up. This will provide HMRC with taxpayer information from tax authorities around the world, enabling it to better target tax evaders. The Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories are among those signed up to this initiative, and have been exchanging information with HMRC for over a year.

I am pleased that the Government has introduced a new criminal offence that removes the need to prove intent for the most serious cases of failing to declare offshore income and gains. To tackle enablers of offshore tax evasion, new civil sanctions have also been introduced to include public naming and penalties of up to 100 per cent of the tax evaded.

There should be a level playing field for the majority who pay their tax, and everyone should be paying their fair share. I am glad that since 2010, HMRC has secured around £160 billion in additional tax revenue through tackling avoidance, evasion and non-compliance, and the UK's tax gap is now one of the lowest in the world.

Ministers are committed to tackling tax avoidance and evasion at all levels to ensure everyone pays the right tax at the right time. Avoidance (and evasion) damages the effectiveness of the tax system and imposes additional costs on all taxpayers.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.