Once again, what was thought to be confidential information about assets held offshore have now been stolen and then leaked. The latest victims are the clients of Kleinwort Benson Asset Management in Jersey. The beneficiaries are likely to be UK tax inspectors!
Last year, HM Revenue & Customs announced the Jersey Disclosure Facility: an opportunity for people with undeclared tax liabilities and links to the Channel Island, to come forward and settle their affairs on favourable terms: prior to the Jersey authorities passing information of bank accounts and other assets to the UK taxman. Early disclosure has now become more imperative for UK residents who are customers of the Jersey branch of the famous wealth management firm Kleinwort Benson.
The UK taxman is getting increasingly massive amounts of information about assets held outside the UK by continuously increasing the large number of Tax Exchange Information Agreements it has with other countries. But another major source of important information is coming from the large amount of data being passed on to journalists, politicians and international tax authorities by people who have stolen what was previously thought to be confidential information held by various financial institutions.
An American pressure group, calling itself the “International Consortium of Investigative Journalists” has obtained records of more than 20,000 people relating to dealings with Kleinwort Benson in Jersey. They have passed the information on to The Guardian newspaper, who have begun to publish the details. The published details so far include various celebrities, judges, sports stars, business tycoons, and aristocrats.
What does this mean for me?
If you have an offshore bank account it is clear that the net is closing in. HMRC tax investigators are currently trawling through information regarding British residents with bank accounts in Switzerland; Jersey, Guernsey, and The Isle of Man. HMRC has also obtained information about thousands of people with other offshore accounts in various jurisdictions.
Senior tax officials are busy negotiating further exchange agreements with other so-called tax havens. The banks themselves are coming under increasing pressure from governments worldwide to make further disclosures regarding offshore bank accounts held.
If you have an offshore bank account and need to regularise your tax position it is essential that you act urgently. There are various offshore disclosure facilities which can be utilised in order to avert criminal prosecution and also reduce penalties. The Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility can still be used to obtain extremely favourable terms: even for people who had no previous link to the principality.
Worried about an offshore bank account?
Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts have substantial experience of the key issues. We are helping many clients and their agents with the current tax amnesties.
*For a free, private and no obligation consultation don’t delay, call:
Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997
Andrew Nutbrown: 0771 877 8710