Following the UK-Swiss Tax Treaty which was signed in October 2011, Swiss banks are now sending letters to all account holders that have a connection to the UK and may therefore be liable to tax charges under the UK-Swiss Tax Treaty.
Some banks have already posted the letters, whilst others will send them out during the next month or so.  Eaves & Co have already been contacted by concerned taxpayers in receipt of letters from their Swiss bank.
If you/your client receive letters regarding the UK-Swiss Tax Treaty then you should ensure that swift action is taken if you wish to avoid the one off levy in May 2013 and on-going withholding taxes.
Where there are undisclosed tax liabilities in issue then it will be necessary to consider whether to continue under the withholding system set out in the UK-Swiss Tax Treaty and retain anonymity or make a disclosure to HMRC – perhaps by taking advantage of the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF).
It is important that clients with no undisclosed liabilities do not simply ignore the letters because the terms of the UK-Swiss Tax Treaty mean that the Swiss bank will need to receive confirmation from a UK tax professional certifying that the income has been disclosed to HMRC (or that the taxpayer is non UK domiciled and claims the remittance basis so disclosure is not required) before they can dis-apply the one off levy and annual withholding tax.

partnership agreement
(Photo credit: o5com)

The case of Mrs Pauline Valantine v HMRC (TC 01644) demonstrates that in certain cases it may be useful to engage in discussions/meetings with HM Revenue and Customs as this could prevent cases being taken to Tribunal unnecessarily.
The key issue in the case concerned whether Mrs Valantine was in partnership with her husband.  If Mr & Mrs Valantine were in partnership then Mrs Valantine would become liable for unpaid income tax/NICs on her share of the partnership profits and unpaid VAT for which she would be joint and severally liable.
The question of liability was particularly relevant because Mr Valantine was expected to declare bankruptcy, therefore if a partnership did not exist then Mrs Valantine would not be liable for the unpaid tax and HM Revenue and Customs could not expect to receive payment.
Based on the evidence before them the Tribunal found in favour of the taxpayer on the basis that the relationship between the taxpayers made it unthinkable that they would have entered a business partnership.
Interestingly however, the Tribunal concluded that HM Revenue and Customs should not be criticised for their handling of the case or for bringing the case to Tribunal.  They went on to say that had the taxpayers been willing to meet HM Revenue and Customs to discuss the case then the case may never had been brought to appeal.
Taxpayers involved with investigations/enquiries from HM Revenue and Customs may find professional advice useful to ensure that matters are concluded both quickly and robustly.
For information regarding our tax investigation/enquiry services please contact Paul Davison on 0113 244 3502 or visit our website www.eavesandco.co.uk