Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Swiss ‘Clarification' on U.S. Treaty Could Ease Handover of Bank Account Details

The Swiss government has put forward a clarification of the new U.S.-Swiss double taxation tax treaty, which may help resolve a dispute between the two countries over allegations that Switzerland’s second largest bank helped its U.S. clients evade taxes.

A spokesman for the Swiss Federal Tax Administration, Mario Tuor, confirmed Aug. 29 that the Federal Council, the government’s executive arm, sent a memorandum dated Aug. 8 outlining an interpretation of administrative assistance under the treaty. That interpretation may make it easier for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to seek out information on undeclared accounts of U.S. clients with the Swiss bank, Credit Suisse. The memorandum, forwarded to the foreign affairs committee of the Swiss parliament’s upper house, contains a clarification of the tax agreement by the Federal Council.

 It was understood the memorandum makes reference to the draft of an undertaking by the Swiss government to hand over a list of U.S. clients with Credit Suisse accounts to U.S. tax authorities – just as the Swiss government agreed to do in 2009 in regards to U.S. demands for information on undeclared accounts of U.S. clients with UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank.

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