Isle of Man Finance has urged clients with offshore accounts to seek tax advice after HM Revenue and Customs asked private banks and wealth managers to reveal details of offshore account holders.
The move is part of the Revenue’s drive to prevent offshore tax avoidance and the investigation has already seen the major high street banks hand over details of their offshore customers.
Private banks are being asked to cooperate with the Revenue, after a legal ruling forced high street banks to reveal details of customers with accounts in areas such as the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.
In response to the Revenue’s request, the Isle of Man Government has advised clients to seek professional tax advice and to become fully aware of their tax position.
A spokesman for Isle of Man Finance, a Government body which promotes financial services on the Island, says: “The Isle of Man Government is aware of this situation and recommends that clients make themselves aware of their tax position and if necessary seek professional tax advice, similarly that the Island’s bank’s strongly recommend that their clients seek professional tax advice.”
The original investigation resulted in around 60,000 people owning up to unpaid tax, partially due to an amnesty, which ran until the end of June. The revenue believes there are still around 40,000 offshore account customers who have not fully complied with UK tax law.
The spokesman says institutions will generally comply with the Revenue’s demands and adds: “Whilst client confidentiality is a vital issue, the Isle of Man cooperates with a number of authorities and Financial Crimes Units where evidence of illegal activity has been presented to the courts as it values its international reputation.”
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