UK banks to reveal offshore accounts

2 February 2007

Four of the UK's major high street retail banks will be forced to hand over details of their customers' offshore bank accounts following a legal victory by taxation authorities.

Banks including HSBC, HBOS, Lloyds TSB and the Royal Bank of Scotland will be required to inform the HM Revenue & Customs of their customers' accounts, according to the Financial Times, after a ruling that said accounts operated by UK-based banks in the Channel Islands should be revealed.

However, it is not believed that secret accounts in Switzerland or other countries will be investigated.

Although it has been legal to hold money in offshore accounts since 1979, hiding interest accumulated through these accounts is still illegal.

It is expected that up to £275 million is expected to be recovered in unpaid tax as a result of the ruling - made by independent special commissioners.

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