Taxman wins offshore accounts battle

HM Revenue & Customs has won the right to get information about
customers’ offshore bank accounts in a landmark ruling.

The Special Commissioners have ruled that the taxman can get hold of account
details, in a case that is thought to have involved a high street bank.

The bank, unnamed in the proceedings, had tried to argue that the Revenue’s
request for information was incompatible with the Human Rights Act, a claim the
commissioner, John Avery Jones, rejected. He also decided that existing
information from a sample of offshore customers suggested that many did not
declare the interest earned, and that the request did not therefore amount to a
‘fishing’ expedition.

HMRC calculates that the investigation and the decision will yield a further
£347m of revenues, the Financial Times reported today.

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