Page last updated at 18:00 GMT, Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Tax dodgers to be named and shamed from 1 April

Reading a tax return
The naming and shaming will start in earnest in 2011

Tax cheats will be named and shamed by HM Revenue & Customs from 1 April, if they have dodged more than £25,000 of tax.

The new policy was announced in last year's budget but the date from which it starts has now been decided.

The idea is based on a long-standing policy in Ireland where publication of the identities of tax cheats attracts widespread publicity.

HMRC said it would apply to tax dodging committed on or after 1 April 2010.

As a result, it is unlikely to be before 2011 that the revenue will first start publishing the names and addresses of the tax cheats.

"This new approach should make people think again about trying to get away with tax fraud," said Stephen Timms, Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

"As well as having to pay the tax, interest on the tax, plus penalties of up to 100% of the tax lost, they also now risk being identified publicly," he added.

'Damaged reputation'

People who are investigated and who are found to have deliberately evaded tax of more than £25,000 can expect to be identified.

A Revenue spokesman explained that miscreants would be given a chance to plead any mitigating circumstances to avoid the bad publicity.

But he warned that "if taxpayers have been cheating and they do not tell us, no amount of good representation will help them avoid being named."

Stephen Camm, tax partner at PwC, said: "Being named publicly in this way could be likened to 'ASBOs for tax evaders', causing a lot of damage to the individual's personal and commercial reputation."

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