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UK/Swiss Agreement

 

On 6th October 2011, the United Kingdom and Swiss Confederation signed an agreement to tackle tax evasion by UK taxpayers who hold funds in Swiss bank accounts (the Agreement). On 18th April 2012, the two governments signed a mutual agreement increasing the rate that will be charged under the Agreement, where UK taxpayers elect to preserve their anonymity by making a one-off payment to settle past UK tax liabilities (the Mutual Agreement). Both the Protocol amending the Agreement and the Mutual Agreement came into force on the same date as the Agreement itself, 1st January 2013.

 

One of the expectations of the Agreement is that, banking secrecy in Switzerland will be lifted in the near future. HMRC has published FAQs, dealing with a wide range of issues relating to the Agreement; duly qualified by the statement “the answers given in to these FAQs are not a substitute for the terms of the Agreement” itself.

A general misunderstanding is that the agreement is not applicable to relevant assets held in a discretionary trust. HMRC has confirmed that discretionary trust are not excluded from the terms of the Agreement. (FAQ 1.5)

A relevant person under the agreement includes any individual in the U.K. who:

a) as a contractual partner of a Swiss paying agent is the accountholder or deposit holder and beneficial owner of assets; or

b) in accordance with a Swiss paying agent prevailing due diligence. (KYC) taking into account all known circumstances, the beneficial owner held assets in a:

- Domiciliary company (drawn very wide – inc “trust”), or

- An insurance company in an insurance wrapper, or

- Another individual by means of an account or deposit with a Swiss paying agent.

Importantly the Agreement came into force on 1 January 2013. However it is effective from 31 December 2002, being appointed date 1 (Article 2. letter m).

A valid certificate under Article 4, must satisfy conditions letter a) to c) inclusive

Letter a): ask that the adviser certify that to the best of their knowledge, the domicile status of the relevant person is not formally disputed by the competent authority of the U.K.

Under self assessment individuals now assess in their domicile status. However, as we all know HMRC can challenge this at any time.

Clifford J. Frank’s 3 Ways To Settle your Tax - Staying in Switzerland and Preserving your Anonymity (3waystosettleyourtax.com) is a book that offers guidance to UK residents with relevant assets in Switzerland.

It provides help to deal with the requirements for disclosure as an alternative, an overview about Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) powers and options under the Agreement, and the possible options for UK residents with relevant assets in Switzerland.

What are relevant assets?

To speak to Clifford J. Frank call 02078871948 or order a copy of the book.



 


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