Lib Dems announce crackdown on millionaires’ tax avoidance
Anyone worth more than £1 million could come under scrutiny from inspectors in a fresh crackdown on tax avoidance announced by Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander.
The move will mean a further 200,000 people will be targeted by the HM Revenue and Customs’ affluence unit, set up originally to study the affairs of the 300,000 with assets and property of more than £2.5 million.
Alexander, speaking to the Mail on Sunday at the Lib Dem annual conference in Brighton, said officials would “sniff out” anybody who was not paying their fair share of tax.
“The measure will apply to people with homes and assets of more than £1 million.” He added, “The wealthiest did best in the boom years and it is right they should pay more now.”
Clegg described the crackdown as a “time limited contribution” to the “national effort” since he said the country was not in a “short economic battle” but a “longer economic war”. The deputy prime minister went on to say it would be “people of considerable wealth” who would be asked to make a contribution.
He told the Guardian: “The action is making sure that very high asset wealth is reflected in the tax system in the way that it isn’t now, making sure that we continue to crack down very hard on tax avoidance, making sure that tax breaks don’t go disproportionately to people at the very top.”
The scheme is likely to be praised by Lib Dem activists and comes as Clegg promises to play hardball with David Cameron over the future of the coalition.
The proposal also comes as Business Secretary Vince Cable indicated he wants a fresh assault on tax havens and non-domiciled millionaires. Cable told The Sunday Times he wants action against “shady” wealthy people who make “systematic and cynical” use of offshore havens such as Monaco and the Cayman Islands.
Clegg stressed it was only “half-time” in the coalition’s term of office and brushed aside suggestions he would be stepping down before 2015, by promising to fight for the party right up to the general election.