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Treasury announce offshore tax amnesty has been a success

The UK government has today announced that 10,000 people stepped forward to confirm they had been holding funds overseas which were undeclared to the tax authorities in the UK. This move came after an amnesty announced by the UK government in July last year which ended on 4 January 2010. Those who finally came forward will now have to pay their unpaid tax, interest on outstanding tax and a 10% fine. However, for those who failed to step forward and are revealed by the authorities in the future the penalties will be much larger!

Those who are revealed by the government in the future would face penalties of 100% of the tax due, possible prosecution by the authorities, a fine of up to 200% of the tax due and would be publicly "named and shamed". It is believed that the UK government has a large list of possible tax evaders who are based in the UK and have funds held offshore. These names have arisen due to various partnership agreements between the UK government and so-called "tax havens" around the world.

Even though just 10% of those estimated to have funds offshore are believed to have stepped forward the scheme is expected to raise upwards of £500 million for the UK government in the short term. There will likely be further amnesties in the future as this is the most cost efficient way of tackling what is a growing problem.

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