The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, have today announced new action to clamp down on tax dodgers.

The action comes ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on Wednesday, and includes:

* New £77m funding for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in this Spending Review period to expand their anti-avoidance and evasion activity, specifically those focusing on offshore evasion and avoidance by wealthy individuals and by multinationals. This is expected to bring in an additional £2bn per year in tax that would have otherwise gone unpaid.
* A groundbreaking agreement with the US, the first of its kind anywhere, that will significantly increase the amount of information on potentially taxable income automatically exchanged between both countries and further enhance HMRC’s ability to tackle offshore evasion. This sets a new standard in international tax transparency aimed at tackling tax evasion and the Government will look to conclude similar agreements with other jurisdictions.
* Steps to close the net on the marketers of aggressive tax avoidance schemes, including the introduction of new information disclosure rules and HMRC sanctions for the ‘cowboy’ advisers who sell such schemes.

The Chancellor said:

“The Government is clear that while most taxpayers are doing their bit to help us balance the books, it is unacceptable for a minority to avoid paying their fair share, sometimes by breaking the law. We are determined to tackle this problem and HMRC are making good progress, but we are giving them additional tools to bring in more. The action we are announcing today will help HMRC close in not only on those who seek to avoid or evade tax, but on the dubious ‘cowboy’ advisers who sell them the schemes and dodges they use to cheat the law-abiding majority.”

The Chief Secretary said:

“In restoring the public finances, our first priority must be to tackle those who avoid or evade tax. It is simply not fair that at a time when most people are making a contribution to balancing the nation’s books, there is a small minority of taxpayers who try to escape their responsibility. We are therefore investing additional resources into the department so that it can step up its fight against tax dodgers and bring in an extra £2bn per year by 2014/15.”

Commenting on plans to tackle tax avoidance, TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber, said:

“Five years after the TUC identified that tax avoidance was costing the country £25bn a year it’s good to see ministers finally taking action to recoup this money.

“But none of the proposals announced today will force big companies like Starbucks and Amazon to pay more tax. To do this we need a far stronger General Anti-Avoidance Rule than the one the Government is proposing.

“And the extra resources won’t come close to covering the huge job losses the Chancellor has already made at HMRC.

“The Government needs to be far bolder in closing the tax loopholes that allow big companies and wealthy individuals to avoid paying their fair share, leaving everyone else to pick up the tab.”