Switzerland yesterday repeated its willingness to dilute its previously sacred banking secrecy rules, at the same time that the US Department of Justice said it plans to continue with legal action to force UBS to reveal the names of 52,000 Americans with Swiss bank accounts. Switzerland’s finance minister said they hope to negotiate 12 revised double taxation treaties this year, extending the range of countries and creating greater transparency and at the same time getting removed from a “grey list” of countries not fully compliant with the new rules.
In the background, UBS, the world’s largest wealth manager, is fighting a demand by the US IRS to reveal information about 52,000 US citizens. UBS is due to go to trial over the issue, starting in Miami on July 13 2009. UBS has already been forced to disclose the names of 255 US clients to the American authorities and pay $780m to settle criminal charges that it had helped rich Americans evade tax. That agreement did not cover this separate civil case requiring the bank to reveal the 52,000 client relationships.
The outcome will take some time. But if the US is successful the UK could follow suit. HMRC is currently trying to get details of offshore bank accounts and assets from hundreds of financial institutions. The tax men say they have well developed plans to: risk assess all information received; identify all offshore account holders tax resident in the UK who don’t disclose through the NDO; and to “relentlessly pursue” and investigate all defaulters.
If you are concerned about an offshore bank account or offshore assets, or have any historic tax liabilities that are worrying you, or think the New Disclosure Opportunity may benefit you: then Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts can help. Call today for a confidential, discreet discussion with our experienced Tax Dispute Specialists.
Call Paul Lynam now on 0845 643 9997