City A.M. Reporter
HM REVENUE & Customs (HMRC) is set to sign a ground-breaking deal today with the tax haven of Liechtenstein designed to unlock £2bn to £3bn of cash from the secret bank accounts of British citizens in the tiny European principality.<br /><br />HMRC will ask around 5,000 UK investors to volunteer the details of their deposits. Banks in Liechtenstein will be asked to close the accounts of those who do not take up the offer.<br /><br />UK citizens with Liechtenstein account holders will be asked to settle unpaid tax going back 10 years, and pay interest and a penalty of 10 per cent of the tax. By contrast in September the UK government will ask UK citizens with accounts in other offshore jurisdictions to settle unpaid tax going back up to 20 years, along with interest and penalties of 10 per cent, or in some cases 20 per cent.<br /><br />Investors in other jurisdictions face harsher terms because the government expects to secure a legal notice forcing banks with offshore branches to divulge customer information. But the UK government has very little information about the Liechtenstein accounts.<br /><br />In March, Prince Alois, the hereditary ruler of Liechtenstein, backed the “fresh approach”.