Tax evasion campaign launched

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has unveiled an advertising campaign tackling tax evaders who hold money in offshore accounts.

Launched by Chancellor George Osborne, the newspaper and magazine campaign will highlight the penalties for tax evasion. Evaders face fines of 200 per cent of the tax owed and the possibility of criminal prosecution and imprisonment.

Mr Osborne announced the campaign after a meeting of G20 finance ministers in which they agreed new standards on sharing international tax information.

Mr Osborne said:

"The UK Government is on the side of the hardworking majority of people and companies who pay the tax they owe. By taking global action to reform the system alongside a tough approach to enforcing the law at home, we will close the net on those who think they do not have to play by the rules."

Jennie Granger, director general for enforcement and compliance at HMRC, said:

"If you have assets offshore you need to get in touch with us urgently, because we will catch up with you. That can mean a fine of 200 per cent of the tax that you owe, and the possibility of criminal prosecution and a prison sentence.

"The days of hiding money in another country to cheat the UK are coming to an end."