Foreign prosecutors are increasingly asking the UK for help in tax crime investigations, new figures suggest. 

According to research by Thomson Reuters, the number of information requests relating to tax offences received by the UK government rose 44% last year; from 103 in 2017 to 148 in 2018.

Requests to the government require businesses or individuals to provide documents, such as transaction histories or bank statements, within a certain time period. They can also require people to give evidence in court.

The increase in the number of requests reflects growing cooperation between international law enforcement agencies. According to Thomson Reuters, tax offences are increasingly cross-border, making it harder to gather evidence necessary for prosecution and prompting greater collaboration between countries.

Brian Peccarelli, chief operating officer at Thomson Reuters, said: ‘Tax authorities globally are increasingly working together to stamp out tax evasion. Deeply integrated economies and lengthy supply chains mean investigating tax offences can be very difficult without collaboration. Information sharing networks can therefore be very important in increasing the chances of locating the offenders.’

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development has announced proposals aimed at reducing corporate tax avoidance and evasion. The proposals would see an increase in the rights of countries to levy tax on corporate income earned from sales in their jurisdictions, regardless of which jurisdiction those profits are actually recorded in.