Talks between Switzerland and the UK lined up for next year to address secret Swiss bank accounts will take time to complete – but this will give the taxman more breathing space to catch errant taxpayers before any new amnesty becomes available.
John Cassidy, tax investigation and dispute resolution partner at PKF, said: “Since the talks were announced, we have heard of several major advisers who are effectively telling their clients to sit tight and wait for a future UK-Swiss deal before coming clean on UK tax arrears.
“This is poor advice and could leave their clients facing unnecessarily large tax bills.”
Cassidy added that those with undeclared income who do not come forward voluntarily should realise that there was a significant risk of HMRC discovering that they have underpaid or evaded tax.
“If an investigation is started it will be too late to use any amnesty. HMRC now has the funding to scale up its investigations against offshore account holders and has amassed a lot of data on offshore bank account holders generally,” Cassidy added.
“It has already shown it is willing to use stolen bank data to open investigations into Swiss account holders in an attempt to catch tax evaders.”
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