The unit, which is based in Liverpool, will approach banks and other financial companies to demand lists of customers with offshore interests.
A Revenue spokeswoman confirmed that a team had been set up.
‘Any UK resident taxpayer who has amassed funds abroad outside the UK’s jurisdiction where tax evasion is evident, the IR will seek to tax those funds,’ she said.
‘This applies to any bank who offers this type of arrangement.’She said it was too early to give further details, but that a report in The Sunday Times appeared to be accurate.The paper had reported: ‘Investigators are planning regular trips to tax havens such as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man to exert pressure on local offices.
Over the next few months, thousands of people whose names appear on these lists will be contacted.
They will be asked to disclose any information that they may previously have kept from the authorities.
Those who agree are expected to be allowed to repay any unpaid tax with interest.’Jersey’s Comptroller of Income Tax, Malcolm Campbell, said that he was aware that the UK government had given the Inland Revenue significant new resources to investigate tax evasion, but he had not heard from the new team – which is believed to have been set up after the Revenue successfully secured a list of offshore customers from the Bank of Ireland last year.’We specifically deal with the Revenue’s Competent Authority in London on issues of double taxation and I have not spoken to them about this team nor have we seen an increase in enquiries,’ he said.
‘I think it is important to make a distinction between tax evasion and tax avoidance.
Evasion is the deliberate concealment of income that should be declared to the Revenue while avoidance is perfectly legitimate and legal.
We go to great lengths to avoid the former but ultimately it is down to the individual.’Policy and Resources president Senator Frank Walker said that the Island was open only to legitimate business and those trying to avoid tax would not be welcome.’The message is clear,’ he said.
‘We do not want the business of anyone trying to use Jersey to avoid paying their dues and I am confident that we have the controls in place to prevent this sort of activity.’We are one of the world’s premier offshore finance centres and this is constantly borne out in reports from such bodies as the IMF, EU and OECD, who say we are well run and well regulated.’