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Banks ordered to reveal offshore account details

More than 300 UK and foreign banks have been ordered to give details of UK taxpayers with offshore accounts to HM Revenue & Customs.

Last week, the Tax Chamber of the first-tier tribunal told 308 UK and foreign banks to disclose the information to HMRC ahead of another tax amnesty that will enable people with unpaid taxes in offshore accounts or assets to settle their liabilities at a favourable penalty rate.

The decision will allow HMRC to check that the new disclosure opportunity disclosures are complete.

The Revenue believes the details will allow it to recoup £500m in tax over four years.

Names of the banks were not published by the Revenue but reports suggest they include several UK institutions with operations in Switzerland.

Treasury Financial Secretary Stephen Timms said: “It is wrong that some people evade paying their fair share of tax by hiding assets in offshore accounts. Today’s ruling represents real progress in creating a level playing field for all taxpayers.”

The ruling directly follows a deal struck between the UK and Liechtenstein authorities to start exchanging tax information. It is thought around 5,000 UK investors have £3bn in accounts in the principality.

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