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Customers volunteer offshore bank details in Revenue crackdown

Hundreds of people have voluntarily handed over details of their offshore bank accounts to the Revenue after it began a clampdown on tax avoidance.

Investors were moved to act after the Revenue won a legal case forcing Barclays to hand over details of clients’ offshore bank accounts.

The Revenue is cracking down on offshore accounts amid concerns that they are being used as tax avoidance tools and says several hundred people have already volunteered details of their holdings.

Barclays has no plan to appeal against the ruling, which could have repercussions for other banks which are likely to be asked to reveal details of customers’ accounts.

Barclays insists that the decision affects the entire industry and it has not been singled out.

Accountants and lawyers have been urging their clients to disclose assets held offshore in the hope of reducing any possible fines for tax evasion. The penalty for non-declaration is the tax due, plus interest and a penalty, which can be up to 100 per cent of the tax due.

The Revenue says the level of co-operation it receives from investors will be viewed as a mitigating factor when it decides on any penalties.

Lloyds TSB says the decision is likely to have wide implications for all financial providers.

A spokesman says: “We are advising any customer with concerns to seek independent advice from a financial adviser or accountant to ensure tax obligations are met.”

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