HMRC investigates customers of Euro Pacific Bank
Tax Investigations Partner, Andrew Park, explains that further to the suspension of the activities of Euro Pacific Bank (“europacbank”) by the Puerto Rico financial regulator, urgent action is needed by many of their customers in Britain and other onshore jurisdictions.
The suspension comes in light of a two-year investigation into the suspected facilitation of tax evasion by the UK HMRC, the US IRS and their J5 Joint Chiefs of Global Tax partners in Canada, Australia and Holland.
HMRC has confirmed that many UK customers of the offshore bank are now under investigation for tax evasion – including some criminal investigations with a view to prosecution and potential imprisonment.
The bank relocated to Puerto Rico which has not yet joined the Common Reporting Standard from St Vincent and the Grenadines – which started reporting under the financial transparency initiative in 2018. It seems some thought that made the bank a safe haven for undisclosed funds.
Any UK customers who believe they may not be fully UK tax compliant and have not yet been contacted by HMRC must take urgent professional advice in order to pre-empt HMRC and mitigate their position – including potential civil penalties which without mitigation could be as high as 300% of the tax still recoverable for up to 20 years.
Anyone concerned can contact Andrew Park for a free no-obligation discussion about options for voluntary disclosure or how to respond to any initial HMRC correspondence.