HMRC has been accused of writing bullying letters to tens of thousands of people with overseas bank accounts and investments.

Tax specialists said that the letters from HM Revenue & Customs risked leaving some account holders open to prosecution.

The firmly worded letters from the Risk and Intelligence Service said: “We have information which shows that you may have received overseas income or gains which is taxable in the UK . . . It is your responsibility to tell us about your UK tax liabilities from offshore income or gains anywhere in the world.”

Miles Dean commented:

“The fact of the matter is that HMRC has an obligation to collect all taxes due – they have a responsibility to write letters about individuals’ personal finances.

“The letters do not state that the individuals have either avoided or evaded UK tax, merely that HMRC has information about overseas income that may be taxable.

“The reality is that with automatic exchange of information now being a global standard, and the breadth of the UK tax code, taxpayers can’t assume they won’t get letters such as this in the future.”

Read Miles’ comment in FTAdviser