The Revenue said it has investigated 66 individuals so far in relation to tax evasion allegations raised from the leak of 13.4 million files exposing the use of offshore tax havens by some of the world’s biggest businesses, political figures and celebrities.
According to the law firm Collyer Bristow, HMRC has made four arrests and carried out six interviews under caution.
James Badcock, partner at Collyer Bristow, said, “The right to privacy, the freedom of the press and ‘stolen data’ are contentious debates. Some of the media are defending legal action in relation to the publication of information contained in the ‘Paradise Papers’.
“Though data may have been obtained illegally, this does not generally stop HMRC from using it to pursue taxpayers for non-compliance. However, the right to prevent the flow of private information is a developing area of law worldwide."
The firm explained there is a growing pressure on non-compliant taxpayers, particularly those with non-UK assets.
Taxpayers have until 30 September to declare offshore non-compliance. If this deadline is missed, HMRC can levy fines of 100% - 200% of the tax due and even greater penalties in some cases, with naming and shaming and potential criminal consequences, Collyer Bristow added.
HMRC will also be receiving a windfall of information about non-UK accounts of UK residents through the new Common Reporting Standard.