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Monday, June 29, 2009

Swiss Banks Shun Americans as U.S. Compels Disclosure

Source: Bloomberg.com
June 29 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss banks are shutting the accounts of Americans as the U.S. Internal Revenue Service accelerates the hunt for tax dodgers.
UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, the country’s biggest banks, have told Americans to move their money into specially created units registered in the U.S., or lose their accounts. Smaller private banks such as Geneva-based Mirabaud & Cie. are closing all accounts held by U.S. taxpayers.
While the banks declined to say how many people are affected, more than 5 million Americans live abroad, including about 30,000 in Switzerland, according to estimates from American Citizens Abroad in Geneva. Swiss banks must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission to provide services for those customers.
The IRS has since increased pressure on Americans to disclose offshore accounts as it seeks to recoup an estimated $50 billion in unpaid taxes. The agency set a deadline of Sept. 23 for taxpayers to declare all foreign accounts or face possible criminal prosecution that could result in as much as 10 years in prison and $500,000 in penalties.
U.S. citizens must file tax returns, report offshore accounts that contain more than $10,000 and pay tax on any income earned, no matter where they live. To take advantage of the amnesty program, taxpayers must file six years of returns, plus pay back taxes and a penalty, according to the IRS. LinkHere


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