U.K. Cracks Down on Tax Evasion via Offshore Islands

The U.K. government gave individuals evading tax through the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey three years to pay up or face prosecution.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs announced a disclosure facility to allow people with investments and assets in the islands to settle their tax bills by Sept. 30, 2016. The government in London signed accords with the local authorities to disclose bank-account details and information about financial structures used to shelter individuals from taxes. The Isle of Man and the two Channel Islands are self-governing possessions of the British crown and not part of the U.K.

“The net is closing in on those seeking to hide their money offshore to evade their tax responsibilities,” U.K. Treasury minister David Gauke said in a statement today. “While the majority of people and businesses pay what they owe, this government is determined to tackle the minority of tax evaders who don’t.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said in the annual budget last month that the pursuit of tax evaders in the three islands would raise more than 1 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) over the five fiscal years to 2018. A separate effort to track down tax evaders with money in Lichtenstein yielded three times as much revenue as expected, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said in September.

Separately, the U.K. government said today it agreed on an exchange of tax information with France, Germany, Italy and Spain based on an accord already in place with the U.S.

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