As HMRC continue their crackdown on offshore accounts, they are now set to investigate global companies who claim to have moved their headquarters out of the UK. Tax investigators will trawl through emails and records looking for concrete evidence that the brains behind each operation have physically moved offshore.
Countries such as Ireland and Switzerland have become popular tax havens through the years and companies such as Henderson Global Investors have moved their headquarters accordingly.
Now, if HMRC investigations highlight that high level staff within such companies have not actually moved offshore, the firms are likely to be liable for large fines and they will also be requested to pay the unpaid tax that they owe.
HMRC stated: “We will be looking for substantial evidence that a move has taken place and is genuine. We will want to see emails to establish there has been a physical relocation and that the brains of the company have moved.”
Forensic accountant Richard Murphy added: “Time and again stories in the press talk about people and companies planning to leave the UK because of tax. The reality is that this is not easy because most who want to leave for tax also want to enjoy the continuing benefit of trading or having accommodation and their family here and the Revenue are rightly making it as hard as possible to get the benefits that trading and living in the UK economy offers while not make a contribution in tax to our collective wellbeing.”