Support from the Times

Posted 15/11/2008 - 17:19 by IanAbroad

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2008-11-14 (All day)

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Don't think that all offshore savers are rich tax dodgers

It is a peculiar irony. A year ago, the Revenue began a crackdown on offshore savings. Banks operating out of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man had to hand over details of British customers, and depositors who confessed were rewarded with an amnesty. Thousands did and many must have given up on offshore savings. Inadvertently, the taxman's crackdown must have saved some depositors from the collapse of the offshore subsidaries of Icelandic banks.

Thousands were not so lucky and could now lose most of their savings because the Government is not offering compensation. To an extent, this is understandable. Ministers must look after the interests of taxpayers, many of whom would not want to bail out offshore savers. But the issue is not clear cut.

The Government's actions may have contributed to the demise of Kaupthing Isle of Man. In addition, many expatriate Britons used offshore accounts because they thought that they had no alternative (see page 9). The Government should stop treating these victims like criminals.