28 May 2014 | 03:18 pm | 2 min. read
• Part of tax cooperation agreement between UK and Switzerland • List to be handed over by May 31st As part of the ground breaking tax agreement between the UK and Switzerland, Swiss banks will inform HMRC by May 31st of the top 10 destinations to which money removed from suspect bank accounts in Switzerland has been sent, says Pinsent Masons, the international law firm.
HMRC are expected to use the list provided by the Swiss Government to help them plan, with pinpoint accuracy, their next moves against UK taxpayers who are evading tax due on money they have sent to overseas tax havens.
Pinsent Masons explains that as well as providing a breakdown of the top ten locations to which the largest value of assets have been transferred, the treaty also requires the Swiss authorities to inform the UK of how many UK nationals have moved their money from a Swiss bank account to each of the listed countries.
Jason Collins, Head of Tax, of Pinsent Masons says: “This is another tightening of the noose on tax evaders. HMRC is aware that money that could have been declared under the UK/Swiss treaty has been flooding out of Switzerland instead – and they are determined to track that money down.”
"This Swiss/UK treaty has already dramatically increased the amount of information that HMRC has on possible tax evaders. The hit list of top ten countries will be another key piece of the jigsaw. HMRC will now know exactly where to focus its efforts.”
HMRC has originally estimated that the UK/Swiss Tax Treaty could generate in excess of £4billion in additional tax – although the Swiss Bankers Association suggest that the total will be less.
Jason Collins says that tax evaders using offshore bank accounts have three choices left:
Pinsent Masons says that HMRC believe four out of five UK residents who held a Swiss account are guilty of tax evasion. HMRC are in any event consulting on a "strict liability" criminal offence for not declaring income derived from an offshore asset, which means HMRC would not have to prove intent to secure a conviction.
Jason Collins says: “The tide has turned in favour of tax authorities such as HMRC. The last major holdout countries like Switzerland and Singapore, who have agreed to adopt automatic exchange of information, have come away from the negotiating table clearly lined up against tax evaders.
“It’s essential that those with unpaid taxes due on their oversea accounts move quickly. If they do not come forward now they will find themselves facing fierce investigations by HMRC. HMRC know that that for amnesty schemes, like the Lichtenstein Disclosure Facility, to work then they make some very public examples of those tax evaders who turn down the offer of an amnesty. With higher penalties for those who are caught and the risk of strict liability offences being dished out like parking tickets, the risk reward ratio is increasingly stacked against the evader.”
Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has advised the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as applicant in securing planning permission for a new national Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre to be located in central London.
Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has launched a new working-from home audit tool to help financial services organisations understand the hidden litigation and regulatory risks associated with staff increasingly working from home on a more permanent basis.
Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons is advising Seraphine Group plc, an international digitally-led maternity and nursing wear, on its IPO and premium listing on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.
Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has hired Gonzalo Gil Suarez in Madrid to lead the firm’s tax law practice in Spain.
The multinational law firm Pinsent Masons advises the holding company of the founder Dr Hardy Walle on the sale of all shares of Bodymed AG to Nestlé Health Science.
Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has advised the shareholders of Goodtill on its sale to SumUp
For all media enquiries, including arranging an interview with one of our spokespeople, please contact the press office on