The banks in Liechtenstein are considering the increase of minimum deposits if UK citizens want to use the popular disclosure facility. The Bankers’ Association in Liechtenstein intend to seek approval from their government to increase the minimum amount of offshore cash which is transferred to a Liechtenstein bank to 30 percent. In addition, the association want the bank account to remain open for a minimum of two years.
The Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility was launched in 2009, used by over 2,000 Britons. The Britons are encouraged to disclose finance details to HM Revenue & Customs in return for lower penalties. Liability is only calculated on assets from 1st April 1999, which is less than the typical period of 20 years. Penalties are set at 10 percent of the tax which is owed.
Currently, Britons are permitted to use the LDF and open a bank account as long as they can show they have a ‘meaningful’ link with Liechtenstein, which is ambiguous to say the least. A definition of the term doesn’t exist, although a minimum deposit is asked for by some banks. A ‘confirmation of relevance’ is provided by private banks and sometimes trustee businesses to HMRC, who require the form before permitting registration for LDF.
The changes which have been suggested for the disclosure facility will cost Britons far more, although Liechtenstein banks want to prevent accounts being closed as soon as dealings with HMRC are finalised. Until the changes have been confirmed by the government in Liechtenstein, local accountants will be advising their clients to register for the scheme immediately.
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