Under the agreement people who make a complete and accurate disclosure between September 1 2009 and March 12 2010 will qualify for a 10 per cent penalty.
Those who choose not to take this opportunity and are subsequently found to have undeclared tax liabilities are likely to face a 30 per cent or higher penalty and increased risk of criminal prosecution.
Treasury financial secretary Stephen Timms MP says: “I would urge anyone with offshore accounts holding untaxed income or gains to take advantage of this simple and straightforward scheme.
“Most offshore investors already pay the tax that the law requires and it’s only fair that everyone respects the rules. Tax evasion is not a victimless crime. It deprives our public services of vital funding and places an unfair burden on the honest majority of taxpayers.”