HMRC expects to raise more than £3 billion by closing a loophole which allowed citizens to dodge tax by hiding their money in Liechtenstein.
Almost 2,500 people have come forward to admit their unpaid tax liabilities since an agreement was signed with Liechtenstein three years ago, £363 million has already been recovered from accounts stashed in the tiny central European nation. HMRC originally predicted to recover £1 billion through the disclosure facility agreement, but have now upped their expectations due to more people coming forward than they originally anticipated.
Around 500 UK taxpayers are believed to have money hidden in secret accounts in Liechtenstein, whose government have now agreed to disclose their details to HMRC. Those with unpaid tax bills are now being offered the chance to ‘legitimise’ their past tax affairs and receive much lighter penalties if they own up to their tax evasion.
Those who continue to duck their liabilities could face huge fines, of up to double the amount they owe, plus back taxes and interest for the past ten years, not to mention criminal prosecution in the most serious cases.
Dave Hartnett, HMRC’s permanent tax secretary, said the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility, which is now set to run until April 2016, had been an “overwhelming success”..