Big rise in overseas calls for help over tax evaders

The number of inquiries about UK-based foreign nationals suspected of tax evasion received by the Government soared by almost 20 per cent in the past year.

Overseas authorities contacted HMRC about 1,852 tax evasion suspects under Double Taxation Agreements in the last tax year, compared with 1,564 the previous 12 months. Double Taxation Agreements allow officials to find out the value of assets an individual has declared overseas and work out their full tax liability in their 'home' tax jurisdiction.

"The rise in international requests for information about taxpayers shows that authorities around the world are responding to pressure from their governments to maximise their tax revenues. It is not just HMRC that is piling the pressure on taxpayers," said Phil Berwick at law firm Pinsent Masons. "International borders are increasingly meaningless for tax authorities' pursuit of outstanding taxes."