Belgium has announced that it is lifting banking confidentiality on 250,000 bank accounts held there by foreigners, including 15,000 British residents’ offshore bank accounts.
The Belgian tax authority will proactively pass details of all bank accounts held in Belgium by Brits to the UK taxman; who will then compare it to tax return details. “The plan is to transmit this banking information between now and July 1 to fiscal authorities in the countries of origin”, said the Belgian finance ministry.
If you have a bank account in Belgium then over the course of the next year HMRC will be comparing the information they receive to the tax returns you have submitted. It may be that no income arose in Belgium or that your tax returns were correct and complete. However, HMRC will actively investigate any apparent discrepancies. In particular, the taxman is always most interested in the source of deposits into foreign bank accounts, and also any transfers in or out of that account. You can fully expect to have to account in detail for any transactions on the Belgian bank account.
If you do have any undisclosed tax irregularities then now would be the time to sort these matters out with the taxman. There are still very generous terms to be had in respect of the current offshore Tax Amnesty. If you have any concerns about your tax affairs and you hold a Belgian bank account you should consider taking specialist advice immediately.
Worried about an offshore bank account?
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