Taxman sets up special unit for HSBC Swiss account investigations

HMRC have set up a special team to deal with their investigations into the 6,000 HSBC Switzerland bank account holders on whom they have obtained information.  The Birmingham based team is called The Offshore Coordination Unit.

The taxman has recently begun a programme of writing letters to all 6,000 UK resident HSBC Swiss bank account holders on whom it has information.  These letters will go out in waves.  The first wave has already been sent.  UK residents with HSBC Swiss accounts will have 30 days, from the date of the letter, to come forward and notify HMRC of their intention to make a full disclosure.  Once the 30 days have elapsed the taxman will commence investigations.   All these investigations will be carried out by the Offshore Coordination Unit.  The initial staffing levels have been set at 25 experienced and technically trained tax inspectors.  It is expected that the complement of staff will increase significantly as the programme progresses.

Anyone who comes forward voluntarily before receiving one of these letters could qualify for the very generous terms of the so-called Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility.  No announcement has yet been made, but there are suggestions that recipients of the Offshore Co-ordination Unit enquiry letters will not be allowed to participate in the generous terms of that Tax Amnesty.

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