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Chancellor's tax raid

Under a new bilateral deal struck with Swiss banking authorities, chancellor George Osborne is getting ready to go to war against Brits who are hoarding a total of £5bn in the tax-free Alpine haven.

Announcing the deal, the Chancellor had strong words for those who evade tax by stowing money abroad, likening them to benefits cheats.

Under the terms of the agreement, money held in UK accounts in Switzerland will be liable for a one-off levy in May 2013 that could account for 34 percent of the account's contents.

The treasury hope that this will bring in an initial £400m for the UK in 2013, a figure that will rise to £5bn by 2015.

After that for starters, the Swiss authorities will then impose a 'withholding tax' on monies that are not properly declared to HM Revenue and Customs.

James Badcock, at Collyer Bristow in Switzerland, said: 'A lot of this cash has been at the Swiss banks for a long time and has counted as very stable assets. Now there’s going to be a big shift about and lots of uncertainty over these assets which the banks will need to handle very carefully.'

Mr Osborne said: 'Tax evasion is wrong at the best of times but in economic circumstances like this is means the hard-pressed law-abiding taxpayers are forced to pay even more. That is why this Coalition government made it a priority to go after those who don't pay their fair share. We will be as tough on the richest who evade tax as those who cheat on benefits.'

Be warned!

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