Offshore amnesty could bring in 5bn

Up to 100,000 people could take advantage of the unprecedented amnesty announced by HM Revenue and Customs.

If offshore bank account holders make a full disclosure, they will be spared a full investigation and penalties will be restricted to 10 per cent of all outstanding tax and not 100 per cent as usual. Penalties for those who do not come forward before June 22 will face significantly higher than normal penalties.

Chiltern head of tax investigations Steve Besford says: “This is a really canny move by HMRC. It is a quick win that could bring billions into the Treasury.”

The announcement follows HMRC’s court success last year in getting information from banks on holders of overseas accounts. Besford says that HMRC will be in possession of the names of people holding accounts so anyone failing to take advantage of the amnesty look likely to face a thorough investigation.