The Offshore Co-Ordination Unit (OCU) is made up of a team of offshore analysts, technical tax experts and experienced investigators. HMRC said the unit will oversee and co-ordinate its compliance work to identify and pursue “those who hide income and capital in offshore accounts to avoid tax and duties”.
Exchequer secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said: “The days when untaxed income or capital could be safely salted away offshore, beyond the reaches of the taxman, are long gone.
“The launch of this specialist unit, together with the other valuable work the department is driving forward in an effort to tackle offshore evasion, underlines the fact that offshore tax cheats are fast running out of places to hide.”
HMRC added that the unit will look to fully exploit the “increasing amount” of offshore information at its disposal – including bank account data. The government office said it will then use this intelligence to develop new ways of tackling offshore tax evasion.
HMRC added that the OCU is the first of 100 new offshore investigators announced by chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, on 18 September this year and follows the launch of HMRC’s “Affluent Unit” earlier this month which aims to tackle wealthy “tax cheats” who avoid paying tax on their gains from foreign property holdings.