UK taxpayers with Swiss bank accounts have been forced to pay £342m extra to HM Revenue and Customs since 1 January as part of a new tax deal with Switzerland.
HMRC signed the deal in October 2011 allowing it greater access to the financial affairs of UK taxpayers in Switzerland, with the aim of recovering £5bn of unpaid tax.
The deal imposes a levy on the accounts of UK taxpayers in Switzerland to cover arrears of tax that should have been paid in Britain.
Current and future tax liabilities will be covered by a new withholding tax of 48 per cent on income.
Under the agreement, people with taxable assets in Switzerland have a choice of authorising their financial institution to disclose the details to HMRC or have the levy and withholding tax applied by the institution.
Exchequer secretary David Gauke says: “Our agreement with the Swiss Government will deliver around £5bn of previously unpaid tax to the UK.
“The first down payment of 500m Swiss francs has now been received. This is money which was owed to the UK and has now been paid.
“Offshore evasion costs the UK billions of pounds every year and we are determined to tackle it. One of the ways is through information exchange and this agreement makes it easier for HMRC to obtain information about UK taxpayers suspected of hiding money in Switzerland.”