Danny McCance 10 Jul 2017 03:52pm

Foreign governments increasingly rely on HMRC

The Revenue received 24% more requests for assistance from overseas governments with probes into taxpayers from overseas jurisdictions last year

A freedom of information (FOI) request from law firm Pinsent Masons found that a total of 2,015 requests had been made to HMRC last year, up from 1,619 in 2015.

The law firm suggests the figures are increasing in line with a global crackdown on tax evasion and an increased interest in forcing large businesses and high net worth’s (HNWs) to pay their taxes.

Recent revelations of high profile tax evasion, such as those exposed last year in the Panama Papers, are likely to all be behind the increasing number of cases.

“The high number of requests is indicative of a more hardline approach globally,” said Paul Noble, tax director at Pinsent Masons.

“HNWs and multinational companies tend to have highly complex tax affairs, spanning multiple territories with widely varying systems and rules.

“Ensuring that tax affairs are in order across different jurisdictions is now more important than ever,” he added.

"HMRC is working with all its international partners to make sure that individuals and companies across the world pay the right amount of tax," a spokesperson said.

"HMRC has led the government’s work to increase global financial transparency, and automatically shares offshore account data with more than 100 countries, including British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.

"This data is increasingly helping us to identify and pursue those tax evaders still hiding their money offshore," HMRC added.

Meanwhile the Revenue has itself stepped up efforts to collaborate with foreign governments on its own probes.

Last week, the firm revealed that the number of requests for help HMRC to overseas governments had increased to 1,096, doubling since 2010.