Tax Investigation Specialists

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HMRC obtain Swiss HSBC & Credit Suisse bank account information

HMRC has received details of UK residents who operate bank accounts with HSBC and Credit Suisse in Switzerland.

Mr Falciani

Mr Falciani

Hervé Falciani, a French software engineer, illegally obtained information concerning 24,000 accounts operated at HSBC’s private bank in Switzerland while working for the company. The information relates to 15,000 accounts that are currently active and a further 9,000 which are closed. Mr Falciani sold the information to the French tax authorities who have subsequently recovered €500m in previously unpaid taxes.

HMRC has received the information concerning UK account holders from the French tax authorities under the Tax Information Exchange Agreement. The French tax authorities confirmed that 6,600 of the accounts belong to British residents and 3,000 belong to French residents.

WLH Tax has recently seen a flurry of new tax investigations under Code of Practice 9 (COP9) - Civil Investigations into Cases of Suspected Serious Tax Fraud - as a consequence of the information being passed to HMRC. Investigations under COP9 are the most serious non-criminal tax investigations that HMRC undertakes. These enquiries are being led by HMRC’s most elite investigators at Specialist Investigations (SI).

In a similar incident, the German tax authorities have paid €2.5m for a disc containing information on Credit Suisse accounts operated in Switzerland. WLH Tax understands that HMRC have purchased the information concerning UK residents from the German tax authorities.

The above shows HMRC’s conviction to use all avenues available to them to pursue tax evasion through offshore bank accounts.

In view of the seriousness of enquiries under COP9, it is vital that anyone who receives a COP9 notice obtains professional advice immediately. Without the support of a suitably experienced professional advisor, COP9 enquiries can be difficult and stressful. Our principals have in excess of 25 years professional experience of assisting clients with these enquiries and have the necessary expertise to mitigate any potential tax liability.

How can WLH Tax help?

Call us now

Please call WLH Tax on +44 (0) 207 491 9690 or +44 (0) 207 491 9696 for an initial confidential discussion if you have an offshore bank account where the funds in the account should have been subject to UK tax or you have received a COP9 notice.