Tax

Slough ‘top stop’ for UK tax avoiders, study suggests

Slough is the top spot for UK tax avoiders, a study has suggested.

The investigation by UHY Hacker Young announced Slough had the highest number of discloses per 100,000 population (47), London followed with 39 disclosures, Watford with 37 and Edinburgh with 30.

The study found the top areas for admitting underpaid tax “tend to be wealthy and home to highly paid individuals who work in sectors such as financial services or IT and technology.”

In London, there were 39 disclosures per 100,000 population last year, as the average was 17.

Experts said that HMRC’s renewed focus on taxpayers’ offshore interests may have prompted more individuals to come forward over the last year. If a taxpayer comes forward then HMRC is likely to be more lenient when issuing penalties.

HMRC was found to have  been ramping up its activities targeting hidden offshore assets of UK taxpayers, with its specialist ‘Offshore, Corporate and Wealthy’ team launching over 820 investigations last year. Investigating taxpayers has become easier since some tax authorities globally started sharing data with each other under a new transparency drive.

Clive Gawthorpe, tax partner at UHY Hacker Young said: “HMRC’s crackdown on taxpayers offshore is prompting more individuals to come out of the woodwork and make a voluntary disclosure.

“The growing resources at HMRC’s disposal means there is nowhere to hide for taxpayers with undeclared offshore interests. It therefore can make financial sense to make a disclosure as this can reduce penalties from up to 200% to less than 100%.”

He added: “Making a disclosure it almost always the best way to deal with an irregular tax position but it’s important to seek professional advice before doing so in order to get the best possible settlement.”

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