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Over 300 banks forced to disclose offshore details to Revenue

Over 300 banks have been ordered to give details of UK taxpayers with offshore accounts to HM Revenue & Customs.

The Tax Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal ordered 308 UK and foreign banks to disclose all information to HMRC ahead of another tax amnesty which will enable those with unpaid taxes in offshore accounts or assets to settle their liabilities for a 10 per cent penalty.

Those who choose not disclose and are found to have undeclared tax liabilities are likely to face a 30 per cent or higher penalty and an increased risk of criminal prosecution.

The decision of the tribunal will allow HMRC to ensure everyone pays the right tax and to check that the new disclosure opportunity disclosures are complete.

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

Speaking yesterday, HMRC permanent secretary for tax Dave Hartnett said: “Today we have successfully applied to get information on the offshore accounts and assets of customers of over 300 further banks. I urge any of them who have unpaid tax liabilities connected to these accounts now or in the past to come forward and make a full disclosure during the NDO because we will use the information provided by the 300 banks to pursue those people who continue to flout the UK’s tax laws.”

The names of the affected banks were not published by the Revenue but reports suggest they include several UK institutions with operations in Switzerland.
The news follows a deal struck between the UK and Liechtenstein authorities to start exchanging tax information.

It is thought up to 5,000 British investors have an estimated £3bn in secret accounts in the principality.

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