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HMRC has recovered £135m in tax from individuals who were named on a leaked list of HSBC"s private banking operation in Switzerland, considerably less than the amount pulled in by the Spanish and French tax authorities say Harris & Co accountants Northampton #accountantsnorthampton

At a Public Accounts Committee hearing, HMRC chief executive Lin Homer said that of the 130,000 names in total on the so-called Falciani list handed over by a former employee of the bank, HMRC had identified 6,800 UK-based entities at some 5,000 UK addresses.

However, Homer said the poor quality of the data meant just 3,400 taxpayers have been contacted so far, resulting in a tax yield of £135m, although she said HMRC’s efforts ‘were not finished yet’.

In comparison, the Spanish tax authorities have recouped £220m and the French £188m.

Asked about the Lagarde list, which is a subset of the larger HSBC database, Homer said ‘major progress’ had been made in tackling the 15 live cases. Of these, two have been settled as civil cases; four remain open; five have settled within the Swiss disclosure agreement; and four are still being negotiated.

The PAC also considered HMRC’s actions regarding the Liberty tax avoidance scheme, with Homer confirming that £400m of tax was at stake. Of the approximately 2,000 users of the scheme, HMRC had failed to service Section 9 notices in 30 cases, which HMRC’s internal review suggested had put ‘well below’ £10m of tax at risk.

The committee censured HMRC for errors which saw the department overstate the amount of extra revenue collected by £1.9bn compared to targets. Homer apologised for the mistake, which she said was down to an incorrect calculation of the baseline from which later calculations were taken.

Homer said:

‘Our initial estimate was wrong so when we judged our performance against that measure we came up with an incomplete assessment over the four years.’

Asked whether any departmental bonuses had been awarded on the basis of the mistake, Homer said this was not the case.

Homer continued:

‘We have tried to make sure we are rewarding a very good performance from a number of people. I’m confident the bonuses that were given out were deserved. I don’t feel that anything we’ve explained to you has warranted any review of that.’

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