Huge fines are on their way to hundreds of UK taxpayers with Swiss bank accounts. This is unless they take the last chance that is being offered to them by HMRC to pay any tax that is due.

The tax office is in the process of sending out letters to Swiss bank account holders in the UK, to warn that they could face penalties. The fines these people may be charged with could be up to 150% of the actual taxes owed.

It was Chancellor George Osbourne who initiated this clampdown, predicting that his plan of attack would recover £5bn over six years.

New taxation arrangements regarding Swiss bank accounts will come into force on 1 January this year. Talking about this new legislation, Exchequer secretary David Gauke said, “The days when hiding money in Switzerland in order to evade tax are over. Burying your head in the sand is no longer an option. The only realistic strategy is to talk to HMRC, as quickly as possible.”

Account holders who fail to the pay tax they owe will be subject to a new withholding tax, with rates close to the top rates of UK tax, currently ranging from 27% on capital gains up to a maximum of 48% for interest or other non-dividend income.