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Treasury announce 'tough' new tax evasion laws

The Treasury has outlined plans to strengthen the law on tax evasion following George Osborne's Budget yesterday.

Danny Alexander making his statement to the Commons today. Credit: ITV News

Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury, said a new strict liability criminal offence would be introduced so offshore tax evaders "could no longer plead ignorance" in an attempt to avoid prosecution.

"Strict liability will bring an end to the defence of, 'I knew nothing - it was my accountant my Lord,'" Alexander told the Commons.

He said the Government would also enforce a new offence of corporate failure to prevent tax evasion, so no organisation is allowed "to get away with facilitating or abetting others to evade tax".

Anyone who helps tax evaders will also be handed new civil penalties, Mr Alexander announced, meaning those found guilty will be forced to pay fines that matches the sum of the tax dodged.

During his speech in the Commons, Mr Alexander was met with angry heckling from Labour MPs who accused him of abusing his ministerial office by Labour to set out the Liberal Democrats' "alternative Budget".


Diverted profits tax to become law 'next month'

The measures are part of a £3.1bn crackdown on tax avoidance.

The UK Chancellor is pledging to crackdown on firms who use the Channel Islands to avoid paying tax.

George Osborne used today's budget to promise the introduction of what's called a Diverted Profits Tax next week, which should be law by next month.

It would mean multi-nationals who do business in the UK but, for tax purposes, claim to be based offshore, would face a new levy.

It's part of a 3.1 billion pounds crackdown on tax avoidance.


  1. National

No 10: Cabinet 'support Osborne's very strong Budget'

Asked what response the Cabinet gave to George Osborne's Budget, David Cameron's official spokesman told reporters:

I think you will see a very strong package of measures and that view was shared right around the table.

There was a clear expression of views from around the table that it was a good and strong package.

– David Cameron's official spokesman

Finance industry keeping eye on UK budget

Businesses in the Channel Islands are waiting to hear how the UK’s pre-election budget will affect them.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, will deliver the coalition's final budget at 12:30pm. The finance industry say they could be affected by stricter regulations on overseas business.

One such change could be relating to ‘diverted profits tax’, which aims to tax the profits of overseas companies that the UK tax system thinks relate to UK activities. It could come into effect on April 1st, and would mean companies in the islands with UK clients or activities, would need to assess if the tax applies, or face giving 25% of profits to the UK.

Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Archive/Press Association Images