Lid blown on Belgium banks

Information on around 250,000 savings accounts owned by foreign nationals in Belgium will be handed over to governments around the world, says the Belgium finance ministry.

The majority belong to French residents trying to stash their cash from the glare of high French taxes, but there are also estimated to be about 15,000 Brits who have accounts too.

'Belgium isn’t an obvious tax haven within Europe, unike somewhere like Monaco or Switzerland, as it has relatively high taxes,“ said Fiona Fernie, tax investigations partner at BDO LLP. 'A lot of British account holders will probably be domiciled in Belgium or have business connections there, for example with the diamond trade in Antwerp.'

HMRC welcomed the move, with a spokeserson saying: 'HMRC is committed to ensuring that everyone pays the right amount of tax, and the days when hiding money offshore was a viable way of evading taxes are well and truly over.'

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