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Autumn Statement: HMRC targets offshore trusts in fresh avoidance clampdown

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Autumn Statement: HMRC targets offshore trusts in fresh avoidance clampdown

The government will increase HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) resources to clamp down on offshore tax evasion and avoidance through the use of trusts, bank accounts and other investment vehicles.

To do this HMRC is setting up a centre of excellence to fight tax fraud and evasion.

In the Autumn Statement, chancellor George Osborne pledged to raise an extra £2 billion a year by fighting tax avoidance and targeted the closure of 'hundreds of millions of tax loopholes'.

Osborne said he wanted to ensure the richest contributed a further £8.5 billion including revenues from a £5 billion raid on UK residents' Swiss bank accounts, which will come into force on 1 January 2013.

‘A tax raid on the rich that raises no money is a tax con,’ said Osborne.

The government has claimed the new centre will be able to resolve avoidance schemes more quickly, deal more effectively with taxpayers with a net worth over £1 million, and make increasing use of third party data to analyse corporate transactions.

The UK and US governments have also signed an agreement to monitor cross border transactions which could potentially taxable income, and further inter-country agreements are being sought.

Legislation for the government’s General Anti-Abuse Rule (Gaar) will be published later this year.

Osborne added that he was putting resources together to make sure that businesses paid corporation tax.

But he ruled out a mansion tax, arguing it would be 'expensive to levy and would produce little'.

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