Just weeks left for clients to use LDF

CLIENTS holding offshore assets have just over six weeks left to register for and utilise the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility before HM Revenue & Customs ceases its operation on 31 December.

The LDF enables Britons to obtain a generous settlement with HMRC on any undisclosed tax liabilities held in offshore bank accounts, by rerouting funds through the tiny European principality.

Last year, HMRC tightened the terms of the regime, restricting access to some of the favourable terms offered by the LDF in certain circumstances, such as failing to disclose liabilities in full.

It was expected to run until April 2016 after strong demand for the scheme saw the deadline extended. It was originally slated to end in March 2015.

Despite the closing date being 31 December, Liechtenstein-based private bank Bank Frick is advising that it and other banks will accept the last account opening by no later than December 29 at 2pm, subject to completion of forms and due diligence.

The bank recommends clients act well before that point due to the risk of funds not arriving in time before the end of the year, particularly given that banks tend to be closed on 31 December.

Anecdotal evidence suggests cases in the lead up to the final weeks become more complex and more urgent as clients seek to beat the deadline.

The crown dependency facilities in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man are also being closed earlier on 31 December 2015.The government announced in the March Budget a final worldwide disclosure facility from 1 January 2016.

Since the regime was established in 2009, more than 6,400 people and companies have registered to participate in the LDF; more than 5,900 disclosures have been received and the LDF has raised more than £1.15bn.

Related reading