According to Channel Register yesterday:
research figures published by accounting firm BDO Stoy Hayward, [show] there were 141 business frauds (reflecting a 42 per cent jump) over £50,000 in value at a cost of £538m, of which £468m was from major VAT and tax frauds in the first half of 2007.
87% were VAT carousel frauds. The total is £10m more than for the whole of 2006. Simon Bevan of BDO said:
Professional criminals have been quick to notice the millions that can be made from VAT carousel frauds. While there has been a crackdown I am sceptical it will halt this avalanche of huge frauds against the taxpayer.
If you make tens of millions, and then succeed in keeping even a few per cent hidden when you get caught, then you will end up with a small sentence and a large amount hidden in an offshore bank
BDO added that it was not convinced the new reverse charge accounting will close carousel fraud down. Sentences are too light. Bevan said:
Many fraudsters are laughing all the way to their offshore tax haven. Fraud is set to keep increasing as long as others see it is a safe route to making large amounts of money illegally, particularly in the case of VAT frauds, where a couple of years in an open prison is not going to deter anyone with a criminal mindset.
But Bevan didn't ask for tax haven secrecy to be brought to an end. Why not? It's the obvious answer. Fraud requires that secrecy. When will accountants promote the end of offshore abuse?