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Taxman targets banks in new amnesty

26 February, 2009

In 2007 when the HMRC issued the first amnesty offering customers of certain banks the opportunity to take advantage of the scheme, 60,000 of the estimated 100,000 taxpayers came forward voluntarily and disclosed their information under the terms of the amnesty. This netted an amount of approximately £400m for the HMRC.

This first amnesty in 2007 only targeted 5 of the major banks, namely Barclays, RBS HSBC, HBOS, and Lloyds TSB and from the figures shown many people took advantage of the scheme.

According those ‘in the know’, in October 2008 the HMRC confirmed that in 2009 plans would be in motion for a second amnesty period. The offer would be much larger and extended to approximately 500 financial institutions which would be receiving letters from the HMRC requesting disclosure of UK taxpayers with offshore accounts.

While the HMRC are not prepared to comment with regard to those it intends targeting, it is thought that a similar process will be applied to this second amnesty. It is however predicted that taxpayers who disclose information relating to their offshore bank accounts would likely incur tougher fines this time around, as it would be argued that people had already had the opportunity to disclose their accounts 2 years ago.

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