Monday, July 16, 2012

Authorities Bought Coutts Bank's Depositor's List

The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has bought another stolen CD containing confidential details of Swiss bank accounts, it is reported.

The state is already notorious for having bought a CD containing bank client data stolen from Credit Suisse in Zurich, which led to the prosecution of hundreds of German taxpayers with undeclared Swiss accounts. Earlier this year the Swiss government issued warrants for the arrest of the three Westphalian tax officials responsible, but the state prime minister defended them as ‘only doing their duty’.
This time the victim is said to be the Zurich branch of Coutts, the long-established private bank now owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland. The Financial Times' German edition reported at the weekend that the North Rhine-Westphalia tax authorities had offered EUR3.5 million for the CD, which is said to have been on the market since last November at least. It is touted by its current possessors to contain details of 1,000 German clients.
So far, though, Coutts is denying knowledge of the theft. ‘We have no evidence to suggest any such breach has taken place’, a spokesperson told the Associated Press newswire.
This may spell problems for US depositors as well, since there is an information sharing agreement between United States and Germany and the last time the German government purchased a disc of depositors was from Credit Suisse, which later caused the US to investigate and issue a John Doe summon to Credit Suisse.
The IRS OVDP remains in effect and offers a limited form of amnesty with manageable penalties and no prosecution.
The IRS resently released helpful FAQs. In general, these FAQs say the IRS will not penalize taxpayers who don’t owe additional taxes (even if they didn’t properly declare their foreign accounts). Just file your past due FBARs, the IRS says.
The IRS also showed some relief to dual nationals living outside the U.S., noting that a new relief program’s details would be out by September 1, 2012. But on a more threatening note, the IRS says it can rule taxpayers ineligible for the IRS amnesty program.

If you have UNREPORT FOREIGN INCOME, contact the Tax Lawyers at Marini & Associates, P.A. for a FREE Tax Consultation at or or Toll Free at 888-8TaxAid (888 882-9243).


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