Britain is setting up a new tax task force to scrutinise the financial affairs of the nation’s wealthiest 500,000 people.
The new HM Revenue & Customs’ affluent unit will look at the tax affairs of everyone with a net wealth of £1 million or more.
The move is part of the government’s quest to squeeze an extra £4 billion from taxpayers who fail to properly declare their income and assets, said Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.
The government’s aim is to claw back an additional £7 billion tax a year by 2015, by investing £900 million in extra staff and technology.
Alexander is already celebrating the affluent unit’s success in reclaiming £44 million in lost tax in the past 12 months.
Contractors under scrutiny
He also confirmed that HMRC task forces will ensure contractors working in the public sector are not allowed to manage their tax to pay less with a corporate set up.
Alexander revealed the government is working on a strategy to stop companies with tax management strategies from winning public tenders and accepting taxpayer’s money. He promised further details would be released later in the year.
“Steps are also being taken to ensure that public sector workers are no longer paid in a way that potentially enables them to pay too little tax,” he said.
“There is currently nothing to prevent the small minority of companies who do not adhere to the rules from winning government contracts. I have asked HMRC and the Cabinet Office to set out a workable solution to this problem.”
Overseas tax pledge
Overseas tax management schemes are also to come under attack by doubling the task force tracking down income and assets in Liechtenstein intending to triple the tax take, explained Alexander.
“The Liechtenstein Disclosure facility offers a time limited opportunity to those with unpaid tax linked to investments or assets in Liechtenstein to settle their tax liability with the UK. The scheme had been intended to raise £1 billion but the government expects that by enlarging its work force, it can now raise £3 billion,” he said.
“The government will find those hiding their assets offshore and will ensure that they pay their fair share. The vast majority pay their taxes completely properly, but a small minority of whom are trying to get away with not paying what is due.”