Swiss Parliament announces it will help with Disclosure of Information concerning Undisclosed Offshore Bank Accounts
The ongoing drama between the U.S. and Swiss governments over the Swiss identification of U.S. account holders at Swiss mega-bank UBS to the IRS has taken another turn.
In an attempt to salvage the historic agreement between the two countries, the Swiss Parliament has just announced it will propose a special law enabling it to hand over data identifying U.S. taxpayers. The law is in direct response to the Swiss court’s prohibition of UBS from releasing the names and account information to the IRS based on its determination that the agreement violates Swiss law – a move that frustrated the IRS.
According to its latest announcement, the Swiss government has reached a deal with the U.S. to address the concerns raised by the Swiss court, and expects to sign a protocol in March to amend the agreement. Once the protocol is signed, the government will apply the agreement on a provisional basis while it seeks parliamentary approval for the deal.
While all of this is being worked out, the Swiss government said that the Swiss Federal Tax Administration will begin issuing final decisions on cases involving tax fraud under Swiss law, but that it will not process other cases until the protocol is signed. Further, the government has announced that it will not transfer any client data to the IRS until the agreement has been approved by the parliament. Nevertheless, it is clear that the Swiss government and banking authority plan to do whatever it takes to comply with the deal it made with the U.S.
U.S. taxpayers with accounts hidden at UBS still have time to come forward before the Swiss release the information to the IRS. However, the window is quickly closing.
Stay tuned as the drama continues to unfold!