Britain will punish tax evaders with fines as much as three times the value of the money they owe under stringent new penalties proposed on Wednesday.
Starting in October, the U.K. tax authority will receive new data on offshore accounts held in crown dependencies and overseas territories, according to a statement on the government website.
“This is a game-changer in the fight against evasion and it’s time for anyone who is evading tax to do the right thing and pay what they owe,” Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison said. “Every penny of tax that people evade deprives our public services of essential funding and we are focused on collecting all tax that is due.”
Prime Minister Theresa May has made tackling corporate and individual tax avoidance and evasion a central plank of her plan to “build a country that works for all,” vowing to continue the efforts of her predecessor, David Cameron. There is widespread criticism that British tax law remains too lax for multinational companies, and Cameron’s own tax affairs came under examination earlier this year following the leaking of the so-called Panama Papers.
“It doesn’t matter to me whether you’re Amazon, Google or Starbucks, you have a duty to put something back, you have a debt to your fellow citizens, you have a responsibility to pay your taxes,” May said in a July 11 speech.