Is there no safe haven for offshore bank accounts


Currently HMRC have 70,000 cases of suspected tax loss involving UK based individuals arising from earlier bank information notices.

Author: Dennis Chapman
Reading time: 2 minutes

This article is 13 years old.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

(Jeff Millington of BTG Tax has kindly donated an article on this subject) The last six months has seen a steady build up in pressure against offshore banking secrecy and tax havens.

Following HMRC’s Offshore Disclosure Facility (ODF) undertaken in 2007, which resulted in HMRC recovering over £400 million from unpaid tax arising on offshore bank deposits, we have also seen: HMRC pursuing further details of customers in the UK with offshore bank accounts. 50 banks are currently in discussion with HMRC, with more to follow; the signing of information exchange agreements with many tax havens including the Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey and Bermuda with Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Monaco promising to follow suit. Following the recent G20 meeting there is a common international intention to achieve transparency and co-operation against tax fraud in the world banking system. We expect the budget on 22 April 2009 will contain some interesting new legislation in this field. 

In the UK Dave Hartnett (the Permanent Secretary for Tax) has indicated that a second offshore disclosure facility may take place in the next 12 months. It is likely it will be preceded by a tax amnesty to holders of Liechtenstein bank accounts and HMRC is pursuing a suitable case for criminal prosecution involving tax fraud and offshore bank accounts.

Currently HMRC have 70,000 cases of suspected tax loss involving UK based individuals arising from earlier bank information notices. They have confirmed these cases will be pursued over the next few years. Those caught will be subject to a penalty of at least 30% of the additional tax arising, compared to the 10% they could have expected 12 months ago. 

If you require advice on this subject or wish to discuss anything on a confidential basis you can contact Jeff Millington at BTG Tax on 0121 452 7829 or email [email protected] This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

Dennis Chapman

In remembrance of Dennis Chapman 1951 -2015

Read more by this author

Getting in touch

You can contact us via the form or you can call us on 01480 455500.