Information on over 8,000 HSBC Jersey clients has been leaked to the tax authorities. Half of the names on the list are UK residents, while the rest are based in various other countries, including Spain.
We had a similar situation with HSBC Geneva a few years ago. This enabled the tax authorities to trace tax evaders and recoup unpaid tax and interest and penalties.
This latest incident was uncovered by the Daily Telegraph which published an exposé on 8th November.
According to the report, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) received information – names, addresses and account balances – on 4,388 UK residents from a whistleblower. Between them they hold £699 million in HSBC current accounts at the bank’s Jersey branches.
The list reportedly includes bankers, senior figures in the city, doctors, mining and oil executives and oil workers. It also contains dozens of people who appear to have no source of substantial income and yet hold large amounts in Jersey. HMRC is understood to be going through the list and comparing it to tax returns to determine which accounts have been correctly declared and which have not.
In all, the list contains 8,474 names, including 333 here in Spain. We can expect the names of clients based in other countries to be passed on to their tax authorities. This is what happened with the Geneva list and is typical of the exchange of information we see nowadays as governments work together to fight tax evasion.
It is of course completely legal to use offshore bank accounts, provided you accurately report the income (and wealth where applicable) in your country of residence. Whether you live in the UK or Spain, you are obliged to declare your worldwide income.
Offshore bank accounts can provide various advantages for British expatriates, but tax planning is not one of them. And you should only ever use tax planning which is compliant in your country of residence. If you are looking for tax efficient arrangements for your savings and investments, contact Blevins Franks for up-to-date advice on what works here in Spain, and also, importantly, what would work for your circumstances and objectives.
For the South of the island please contact Peter Worthington, Senior Partner at Blevins Franks Mallorca, on 971 719 181 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the North of Mallorca contact local Partner Rafael Belloch, on 971 867 781 or email@example.com.
To keep in touch with the latest developments in the offshore world, check out the latest news on our website www.blevinsfranks.com
Text: By Bill Blevins,