Offshore unit to comprise 25 staff

THE UNIT set up to deal with the 6,000 HSBC Switzerland account holders will be staffed by 25 people, mainly made up of technical staff, Accountancy Age has learnt.

The Offshore Co-ordination Unit will be based in Birmingham. It will be responsible for opening inquiries into HSBC Switzerland account holders who do not come forward within 30 days of receiving the letter from HM Revenue & Customs. The recipients will be given the choice of disclosing, perhaps through the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility, or will be put under automatic enquiry.

Guy Smith, senior tax consultant at Abbey Tax Protection, said that this would cause a resource issue for the unit.

“If the 12 or so inspectors take on 30 cases each, that is 360 cases,” he said. “Theoretically, it will take them years and years to get through all the individuals who do not come forward. They will probably pick the highest risk first and send other cases to local offices.

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