Earlier in the year, UK residents with Swiss bank accounts were
given the choice between subjecting their Swiss assets to a one-off
tax payment or authorising their bank to provide details of their
Swiss assets to HMRC.
The Offshore Coordination Unit within HMRC is now writing to those individuals who authorised their bank to provide details. The first batch of letters gives a deadline of 1 November 2013 to make one of three options. Later batches are expected to give deadlines falling approximately six weeks after their sent date.
The first option is to make a declaration covering the past 20 years that all necessary UK income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax and VAT on any non-UK source assets and the capital used to fund them has already been reported. This option should be carefully considered, however, as if this declaration is made and anything from the past 20 years subsequently comes to light that has not been declared, HMRC would have the power to invoke severe penalties and possibly even criminal proceedings.
The other two options are to make a full declaration, either within or outside of the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility.
The Offshore Coordination Unit is writing directly to UK residents with Swiss bank accounts, but the declaration options impact individuals with any offshore bank account, not just Swiss accounts. HMRC is not sending copies of these letters to tax agents, so it would be advisable to get in touch with a professional adviser as soon as possible upon receiving such a letter. Offshore tax disclosure is a complex area, and we are happy to discuss such matters in the strictest of confidence.
By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. Details correct at time of writing.
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