Foreign home owners targeted in tax crackdown

It has emerged that wealthy UK residents with foreign property are likely to come under increased pressure to make sure that their tax returns are in order.

The latest crackdown from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs on undeclared assets within the UK may well cause panic to individuals seeking high net worth mortgages within the UK as a new team of investigators will target around 200,000 so called affluent taxpayers.

With there being fears that many individuals may be making an undeclared profit on second homes or land abroad, the latest move from HMRC has come on the back of recent tax treaties which the UK has brokered with Switzerland and Liechtenstein to allow record sharing as well as information which beforehand could not have been used by the tax authorities.

It is rumoured by respected estate agent Savills that almost 500,000 UK residents own a property abroad, although not all of these individuals seeking foreign mortgages will fall under the government’s definition of affluent.

Although this new move does not apply to non domiciled residents within the UK, it may well hit individuals paying the 50p tax rate hard. Grant Thornton tax director Mike Warburton has claimed: ‘HMRC wants to shake the tree and dislodge a few big apples, to encourage others avoiding tax into voluntary disclosure. I wouldn’t be surprised if they pursue criminal cases to make an example of one or two high profile names.’