Revenue targets 6,000 Swiss bank accounts

HM Revenue & Customs will shortly begin writing to UK residents and organisations holding Swiss bank accounts with the HSBC in Geneva who may not have reported all their income and gains to HMRC

They will be offered a window of opportunity to contact HMRC and disclose all their tax liabilities. If they do not come forward, HMRC will begin an investigation into their affairs, which could include a criminal investigation or result in penalties, in certain circumstances, of up to 200 per cent.

HMRC has already begun criminal and serious fraud investigations into more than 500 individuals and organisations holding these accounts.

The department is acting on information received last year under a tax treaty. This revealed that more than 6,000 individuals, companies, trusts and other bodies held accounts and investments with HSBC Geneva.

The work will be led by HMRC’s new Offshore Co-ordination Unit, which has recently been established and will become fully operational next month.