The Government’s position about tax evasion and avoidance is clear following last week’s Budget, which confirmed there will be a further massive investment in HMRC resources.

HMRC has data Risk & Analysis teams and multilateral co-operation with overseas tax authorities together with vast profiling access across many data platforms. HMRC has grasped “Big Data Analytics” to identify the “hidden economy”.

Offshore remittances to the UK are one of the key targets. However, there comes a point when risk becomes harassment.

Nevertheless, in the March 2015 Budget press release HMRC published news about a new strict liability offence for those who have not paid the tax due on offshore income. Those in any doubt should take immediate tax advice because these new provisions include an automatic assumption of tax evasion without any need by HMRC to prove fraud.

Furthermore, Finance Act 2015 which received royal assent on 26 March 2015, introduced substantial penalties attached to offshore tax issues. The provisions are contained in Finance Act 2015, Schedule 20 (introduced by Finance Act 2015, Section 120) and will come into force “on such day as the Treasury may by order appoint”. The Finance (No 2) Bill 2015 explanatory notes indicate that this is anticipated to be in April 2016.