Banks face bill for helping Swiss tax dodgers

A UK/SWISS AGREEMENT containing a general anti-avoidance rule (GAAR) will punish banks that help customers evade UK withholding tax, Accountancy Age understands.

The groundbreaking agreement includes a withholding tax just below the top rates of UK tax on British account holders in Switzerland who wish to maintain their privacy.

However, any account holders who attempt to circumvent these rules will still be subject to HM Revenue & Customs investigation. Any banks that help their customers avoid the withholding tax will themselves be held liable for the tax owed.

The agreement between the UK and Switzerland was made with the backing of the Swiss banks.

And while a senior source at HMRC said the deal was brokered with the intention of removing any loopholes, the GAAR will effectively nullify any that are found.

Clients’ tax advisers will not face the same liability as the banks for their role in helping find loopholes.

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