The Revenue is writing to HSBC in Geneva account holders to inform them they have a “window of opportunity” until 31 March 2015 in which to come clean about their tax affairs.
HMRC’s new offshore co-ordination unit will then begin investigating the accounts, which could lead to penalties of up to 200% of the outstanding tax.
The move comes after information received by HRMC last year under a tax treaty which said more than 6,000 individuals, companies, trusts and other bodies had accounts and investments with HSBC in Geneva.
HMRC’s offshore unit is already investigating 500 individuals and organisations holding these accounts for serious fraud and other criminal activity.
Exchequer secretary to the Treasury David Gauke, (pictured), said: “The government has shown its commitment to closing the tax gap by making an additional £917m available to HMRC to tackle evasion, avoidance and fraud.
“This will fund the new offshore co-ordination unit, and its specialist teams, which will drive forward this work.”
HMRC’s permanent secretary for tax Dave Hartnett said: “This is not an amnesty. There are no special rates of penalty or interest for those who come forward voluntarily.
“This is an opportunity for those who have made errors in past returns to correct them. The net is closing on offshore evaders. Do not wait for HMRC to contact you. Come forward to us and make a full disclosure.”