The UK tax regulator, HMRC, is investigating
more than 5,000 high net worth (HNW) UK investors with Swiss HSBC
Private Bank accounts over possible tax evasion.
HMRC has written to 4,500 UK-based clients of
HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) asking them to choose between disclosing
their untaxed assets or facing investigation.
PBI understands about 800 HSBC
clients have already been sent Code of Practice 9 letters, which
are used to investigate cases of deliberate fraud.
Under Code of Practice 9, UK authorities can
look into HSBC clients’ tax affairs up to 20 years ago, a
significant time period compared to the general practice of 4-5
Evaders exempt from LDF, UK/Swiss tax
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PBI understands if an individual is
subject to HMRC’s Code of Practice 9 warning, they cannot come
forward under the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility.
HNW investors under investigation will not be
able to disclose untaxed assets under the recently signed UK/Swiss
tax agreement until final details of the deal are agreed.
HMRC declined to comment on PBI’s
enquiry. HSBC’s spokesmen in the UK and Switzerland were
unavailable for comment at the time of publication.