HMRC will find your money and force you to pay up
by Paul Malin - Tax Partner on 9 May 2012
HMRC are gearing up to issue further letters to UK taxpayers identifying their bank accounts in Switzerland that have not been declared in the UK.
Letters previously issued by HMRC identified over 500 Swiss bank account holders that were undeclared. Now it is rumoured that the next wave is targeting a further 5,000 such account holders.
HMRC have ‘raised their game’ by focussing their resources better through the Offshore Co-ordination Unit (OCU) and ‘getting on with the job’. Over 2,000 taxpayers have now been registered under the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF).
The OCU is now trawling through masses of data it has collated since 2007 when the first tax amnesty (the Offshore Disclosure Facility) was introduced in the UK. The data is being sifted, checked and analysed in detail before Risk And Intelligence Service identify the Swiss bank account numbers to the account holders by letter.
Taxpayers are being given 3 choices in their letters; Certificate A declares that no additional UK tax is due, or Certificate B confirms that a Disclosure has been or will be made under the LDF, or Certificate C confirms that a Disclosure will be made outside of the LDF. HMRC warn that taxpayers may be prosecuted if false statements are given.
Statistically and inevitably some letters will be false alarms but the vast majority will trigger a chain reaction that will leave taxpayers in a tail-spin.
Anyone wanting peace of mind is urged to start the process of putting matters right whilst they can still have an element of control and avoid the risk of prosecution. The LDF is proving to be a far better option, not least, because the comparable percentage is still running at less than 20% of the accumulated funds and the LDF guarantees immunity from prosecution.
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