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HMRC crackdown on Liechtenstein bank accounts

HM Revenue & Customs is opening enquiries into UK residents with Liechtenstein accounts possibly being used for tax evasion.

Tax administrators in member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Forum on Tax Administration, including the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Sweden are joining forces following revelations Liechtenstein bank accounts are being used for tax avoidance and evasion.

HMRC says many accounts have not been disclosed for tax as UK law requires.

At the FTA’s September 2006 meeting in Seoul, tax commissioners from over 30 countries identified the use of tax haven bank accounts as a major threat to successful tax administration.

HMRC says with the recent attention on Liechtenstein accounts, a significant move is needed towards full implementation of OECD standards on transparency.

HMRC acting chairman Dave Hartnett says: “Tax evasion is not a victimless crime. Honest citizens have to meet the cost of the tax that is evaded by a minority who are dishonest. Tax cheats deprive our public services of vital funding.

“Everyone is entitled to conduct their financial affairs in privacy but secrecy laws which facilitate tax evasion are completely unacceptable. Those who have hidden their income and gains from HMRC should come forward and make a prompt and complete disclosure.”

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