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Danny McCance 16 May 2017 05:02pm

HMRC wins Swiss tax deal case

The Revenue has won a legal battle with a UK taxpayer who paid too much tax as part of a deal with Swiss authorities

As a result HMRC will not have to refund £57,865 to UK resident Karin Vrang, obtained from her Swiss bank account.

It was taken from Vrang’s account without her permission after she failed to respond appropriately to messages from her bank and HMRC.

The amount was taken as part of a deal between UK and Swiss authorities, which allowed individuals to remain anonymous in exchange for a levy of a proportional amount from their account.

The levy, introduced by then chancellor George Osborne in 2013, has been largely criticised since its introduction.

Vrang’s complaint was that the money was “wrongly levied”. She argued that the HMRC should pay back the difference between the amount taken from her account as part of the levy and the amount originally due in tax, which reportedly amounted to between £1,000 and £7,000.

In her witness statement Vrang said that she did not think the UK/Swiss agreement was “aimed at those who, like her, were not tax evaders, had no tax advisers, paid their taxes and expected to be treated fairly".

She said she also thought that, “Were HMRC enforcing a debt from a UK taxpayer in the UK by taking money from his bank account, there would have been greater safeguards for the taxpayer, including a face-to-face visit.”

The High Court ruling, however, stated that, “It was [Vrang’s] fault that the levy was taken because she had failed to deal with perfectly clear correspondence.”

A statement from the Revenue said, “HMRC welcomes the court’s decision, which highlights the importance of giving offshore financial matters close attention and seeking appropriate advice to ensure you pay the right amount at the right time.”

Vrang said she would appeal the judgement.

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