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CISI calls on all Brits to pay tax, even if they're living abroad

Tax evasion

​Cracking down on global tax evasion has become a hugely hot topic in recent months, with experts, analysts and politicians all seemingly queuing up to have their say on the best ways in which to ensure everyone is paying their way.

However, the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI) may well have come up with the most radical solution yet, at least when it comes to British taxpayers.

The organisation has proposed a US-style system where every UK passport holder should be required to pay tax, regardless of where they live in the world.

It claims the measures would help to slash tax dodging and make systems fairer, while also improving behaviour and cultural standards in finance.

The emergence of the Panama Papers leak has seen the dealings of the super-rich come under particularly close scrutiny and CISI chief executive Simon Culhane claims that by making all British residents pay tax wherever they happen to be, it would result in a fairer system that can be trusted by everyone.

He added: “The UK income tax system isn’t fair at the best of times. The top one per cent of taxpayers, roughly those who have an income over £150,000, pay almost 30 per cent of the entire income tax burden of £160 billion, while the average person pays less than £5,000 a year."

“We could greatly simplify the collection of UK tax, and spread the load more fairly, if we moved away from just operating a residence test when determining whether an individual should pay tax.”

But the CISI has insisted there is no need for British expatriates, many of whom will still be considering their position after the recent Brexit vote, to be concerned by being taxed twice as double taxation treaties will help ensure there are no such problems.

For example, if a person is living in a country with a lower rate of tax than what they would be paying in the UK, they would pay what they owe locally first, before then paying what they owe to HMRC.

However, Brits working in a country with a higher tax rate would only have to pay a local rate, meaning they would not have to send funds back to the UK.

Overall, Mr Culhane believes the new measures will help to do away with the "nonsense" of wealthy taxpayers going to extremes to avoid being a UK resident, such as taking midnight flights to avoid staying in the UK longer than 183 days a year.

He added: "The citizenship/residency tests would mean those seeking lower tax havens can still do so, and they can run empires and businesses from anywhere in the world – but if they want the benefits and rights of UK citizenship they must accept their responsibilities to pay their fair dues and contribute to the UK Exchequer."