Revenue targets customers of HSBC's Swiss private bank

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The Independent Online

Some 6,000 Brits with Swiss bank accounts are being targeted by HM Revenue & Customs. The taxman has given the account-holders with HSBC Geneva a month to come forward or face investigation.

Their names were passed on to tax authorities by disgruntled ex-HSBC worker Herve Falciani. HMRC has already began criminal and fraud investigations into 500 names on the list, but is giving the rest a chance to come forward and disclose tax liabilities. By doing so, they could avoid penalties or prosecution.

Simon Airey, a partner at DLA Piper, said: "This is an extraordinarily generous offer. Those who know that they have unpaid tax liabilities would be mad not to take advantage."

HMRC's new offshore co-ordination unit is writing to those who have not yet come forward, or are not currently under investigation.

Dave Hartnett, HMRC's permanent secretary for tax, said: "This is not an amnesty. There are no special rates of penalty or interest for those who come forward voluntarily. This is an opportunity for those who have made errors in past returns to correct them."