An article in The Guardian by Simon Bowers reports that ‘the island should be ready to become independent, says senior minister after political attacks on finance industry.’
The full article can be found at The Guardian here, or can be read below:
A barrage of regulatory clampdowns and political attacks on the Channel Islands’ controversial financial industry has prompted one of Jersey’s most senior politicians to call for preparations to be made to break the “thrall of Whitehall” and declare independence from the UK.
Sir Philip Bailhache, the island’s assistant chief minister, said: “I feel that we get a raw deal. I feel it’s not fair … I think that the duty of Jersey politicians now is to try to explain what the island is doing and not to take things lying down.
“The island should be prepared to stand up for itself and should be ready to become independent if it were necessary in Jersey’s interest to do so.” Continue Reading
Reuters has reported that Credit Suisse AG, Switzerland’s second-largest bank, has begun notifying certain U.S. clients suspected of offshore tax evasion that it intends to turn over their names to the Internal Revenue Service, with the help of Swiss tax authorities.
Credit Suisse’s notification by letter, a copy of which was obtained on Monday by Reuters, says the handover of names and account details will take place following a recent formal request for the information by the IRS.
The move by Credit Suisse to disclose American client names and account information is the latest twist in a showdown between Switzerland and the United States over the battered tradition of Swiss bank secrecy. Continue Reading
As reported by Grant Thornton, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced that wealthy individuals who own land and property abroad are being targeted for investigation. Sophisticated data mining techniques will be used to identify potential targets who do not appear to have the means to purchase the property, as well as those who don’t declare the correct income and gains from the property. These individuals are one of the first groups to be targeted by the new HMRC ‘affluent teams’, which were announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander on 18 September 2011. HMRC has allocated £917 million to reduce the tax gap over the next 4 years. The new teams are part of that investment. The regional teams start work this month and bring together experts from across HMRC using new and innovative risk assessment techniques. It is expected that initial letters will start to be issued in the next two months. Other groups currently planned to be targeted include commodity traders and individuals holding offshore accounts.
HMRC follows up HSBC offshore account information.
According to a report by Grant Thornton, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced that it will shortly be writing to HSBC Geneva’s offshore account holders that have not yet come forward to put their affairs in order or who are not currently under investigation.
The action follows up HMRC’s first wave of challenges to HSBC customers that have led to criminal and serious fraud investigations into more than 500 individuals and organisations.
Current activity will be led by HMRC’s new Offshore Co-ordination Unit (OCU). HMRC’s Permanent Secretary for Tax, Dave Harnett, recently referred to HMRC “industrialising” the process and the OCU is a manifestation of HMRC’s industrial approach.
There is a clear message from HMRC that taxpayers who do not put their affairs in order will face an investigation. This could result in penalties of up to 200% of the additional tax due in certain circumstances or a criminal investigation.
Taxpayers who chose to regularise their affairs with HMRC, be it via Code of Practice 9 (COP9) or the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF), can receive immunity from prosecution for tax related offences as well as securing a greater ability to mitigate penalties.
The same approach can be seen in the proposed modification to COP9 via the Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF – currently under consultation).