UK residents, whose Swiss banking arrangements have been disclosed to HMRC under the UK/Swiss tax agreement, have started to receive follow up letters from HMRC.

 Earlier this year account holders were given a choice:

  • To pay over a fixed percentage of their account balance to compensate for tax previously unpaid.
  • Or, to authorise their Swiss Bank to disclose their account details to HMRC. This did not apply to non-UK domiciled individuals.

HMRC have been writing to this second group. Recipients of these letters were required to act quickly. HMRC set a deadline of 1 November 2013 to complete and return one of three certificates. If you have received such a letter, and have not responded, you should take advice quickly. The certificate you should have submitted is one of the following three options:

  1. Certificate A: a declaration that they have no outstanding UK tax liabilities (either in relation to the Swiss accounts or other sources).
  2. Certificate B: a declaration that they will be disclosing any outstanding liabilities using the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF), or
  3. Certificate C: a declaration that they will be disclosing their outstanding liabilities outside the LDF.

Failure to respond to the HMRC letter may result in a formal investigation being mounted by HMRC and the risk that criminal proceeding may be taken. Account holders should consider their options carefully and respond without further delay. Completing Certificate B would avail you of certain concessions regarding penalties chargeable, and in particular, immunity from prosecution.

 Readers affected would be wise to take professional advice before responding to HMRC.

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