HMRC is making fewer demands for information to tackle offshore tax cheats

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International Tax Adviser has given publicity to Pinsent Masons in their secondary role as HMRC's press agency, noting;

During the 2012-13 tax year, the Revenue made nearly 500 information requests to tax authorities to find out the value of taxpayers’ assets situated overseas. This was a sharp decrease compared to the 2011-12 tax year, in which Britain’s tax office made 640 enquiries, and a further fall compared to the 2010-11 tax year.
The figures come from international law firm, Pinsent Masons, which said the requests were made under double taxation agreements (DTAs), of which HMRC has one of the largest networks in the world.
The results also indicate that HMRC received 2,466 information requests to help foreign tax authorities with their own investigations into tax evasion.

857 requests for data were made on 2010-11.

So, as the focus on offshore tax abuse increased, and as the number of tax information exchange agreements we had with tax havens grew rapidly there has a been a decline in the number of requests for information on UK tax payers with overseas interests of 43% over two years.

This is not the sign of a tax authority on top of its brief.

Nor of a tax authority wishing to make use of the data that is available to it.

This is a sign of a tax authority with insufficient resources.

And a tax authority that does not care about these issues.

Or both.

And that sends a very powerful signal to those abusing that their chances of getting away with it are still very high indeed.