Advisers stuck in Catch-22 with clients’ offshore accounts

Financial advisers with clients holding offshore accounts are in a tricky
legal situation, according mid-tier firm
Grant Thornton.

On the one hand they risk falling foul of the law if they are ignorant of
their clients’ offshore accounts but they could also get into trouble if they
try and find out about a client’s offshore activities, the firm said.

This warning follows claims that HM Revenue
and Customs
had discovered that more people had undeclared offshore accounts
than it originally anticipated.

Mike Warburton, senior tax accountant at Grant Thornton said: ‘Advisers can
break the law if they don’t know that their clients are handling the proceeds of
crime (such as an undeclared offshore account) and it is also an adviser’s job
to encourage their clients to come clean voluntarily.”

He said advisers needed to tread a fine line between telling clients to get
their tax in order and having to report clients who tell them too much.

Further reading:

Avoidance schemes are rife among capital gains taxpayers

Grant Thornton global revenues climb 12%

Related reading