The Internal Revenue Service, America’s equivalent of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, has just paid an ex-employee of the Swiss bank UBS $104,000,000 for passing on information about people with offshore bank accounts, held with, or set up by UBS.
Whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld’s expose landed the Swiss bank with a fine of $780 million. It also forced the bank’s hand, leading it to hand over the details of thousands of Swiss bank account holders. Birkenfeld was himself convicted for a related tax fraud conspiracy, and served 2.5 years in prison; after he withheld information about his dealings with an ex- UBS client who had been found guilty of tax evasion. Now Birkenfeld’s out of jail the taxman has handed him a $104M reward! A law passed in 2006 allows rewards for whistleblowers in relation to tax frauds of over $2M taxes, interest and penalties.
Birkenfeld’s lawyers said: “The IRS today sent 104 million messages to whistleblowers around the world — that there is now a safe and secure way to report tax fraud and that the IRS is now paying awards…The IRS also sent 104 million messages to banks around the world — stop enabling tax cheats or you will get caught.”
HMRC in the UK is believed to have contributed to funds to purchase data stolen by former bank employees from HSBC Switzerland (now being used by HMRC’s Offshore Coordination Unit) and Liechtenstein banks (leading to the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility). HMRC also pays rewards to informers: although it’s believed to be nothing on the American scale, as yet!
What does this mean to me?
You may have already received a letter from HMRC in relation to an offshore bank account or asset. Or you may be concerned about the Swiss Tax Agreement; whereby information will be passed to HMRC about Swiss banks, and a hefty tax charge imposed from 2013. Or you may simply want to bring your tax affairs up-to-date, and put your money in an environment where you can invest it freely and without worry.
Lynam Tax Disclosure Experts have enormous experience in dealing with tax enquiries and tax disclosures in relation to Swiss bank accounts, and other tax haven bank accounts and assets.
For an initial and wholly confidential discussion, phone Lynam Tax Experts now.
Call Paul on 0845 643 9997