Taxmen target Swiss Cantonal Banks

The American Internal Revenue Service announced a new tax amnesty for Americans with hidden offshore bank accounts to declare their accounts and pay back taxes; reports the New York Times.

The previous so-called Voluntary Disclosure Program, which ended 15th October 2010 was used by more than 15,000 Americans with hidden accounts, some holding hundreds of millions of dollars. A further 3,000 US citizens with accounts at various offshore banks came forward after the deadline.

Some taxpayers disclosed their smaller accounts at UBS, the Swiss giant that was at the centre of the crackdown, but did not disclose their larger accounts at smaller Swiss banks. The Justice Department is conducting an investigation into the smaller Swiss banks, known as cantonal banks, that may have operated in conjunction with larger banks based in Switzerland. Prosecutors are focused on a technique in which American clients were encouraged to open a small account and declare its contents to the IRS while keeping the bulk of their money elsewhere in undeclared accounts.

It seems certain that any information the IRS obtain about citizens will be shared with HMRC.

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