HMRC to crack down on holiday home owners

A 200 strong team of tax investigators at HMRC are targeting rich Britons with overseas properties who are dodging tax in a new crackdown that could net the Treasury in excess of £500m.

The team of investigators and specialists will use software to search publicly-available information to identify individuals who own property abroad and could owe income tax from the rental income or capital gains tax from property sales.

A "risk-assessment tool" will be used to highlight people who do not appear to be able to legitimately afford the property, as well as those who do not appear to be declaring the correct income and gains from the property.

The investigators will also ask holiday home owners how they funded the property and whether it has been declared as an income source.  The team is targeting people with assets between £2.5m - £20m and people who should be paying the 50 pence rate of income tax.

The focus on overseas properties is part of a bigger clampdown on tax evasion.

It is hoped that the new team should claw back £560m in taxes by 2014-15.

A statement from HMRC states "with HMRC's increased capability and expertise, and its increasing success in tackling evasion both at home and offshore, the message is clear: there is no hiding place for tax cheats".


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