HMRC is now in receipt of information from Swiss banks on people who elected to “disclose” under the UK Swiss Agreement. HMRC has written to many of those who chose this route. It is asking people who receive this letter to complete one of three certificates confirming either:
- their tax affairs in connection with offshore assets and investments are already correct (Certificate A)
- they have already made or wish to make a disclosure to HMRC using the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF) – (Certificate B)
- they wish to make a disclosure to HMRC out with the LDF – (Certificate C)
If there is no reply, HMRC may start a detailed investigation which could become a criminal investigation.
It is important to address the key areas, being:
1. If Certificate A is being signed, be absolutely confident there is nothing incorrect in your tax affairs. Certificate A1 (nothing to disclose) specifically states that "we will use the information we have to check whether the statement you have made is correct. You may be prosecuted if you give false statements". The certificate states "all” offshore accounts, assets etc. In other words, you should not restrict confirmation to Swiss accounts (including those held via trusts or other entities). Furthermore HMRC are not only interested in the income and gains generated but also source of funds and inheritance tax implications. There is no time limit - "assets held at any time" is what the certificate states.
2. For UK resident but non-domiciled people who claim the remittance basis re-affirming the importance of ensuring all remittances to the UK have been considered will be helpful.
3. Consider whether it’s necessary to complete some form of reassurance review before completing Certificate A.
4. If there is a disclosure to make it will be important to consider the best route.
In the event of receiving a letter from HMRC you should take professional advice.