Senator Carl Levin on the UBS settlement: 19th August 2009
August 19, 2009
"The UBS settlement is at most a modest advance in the effort to end bank secrecy abuses, tax haven bank misconduct, and the tax haven drain on the U.S. treasury. It will take a long time before we know whether this settlement will produce meaningful gains due to treaty procedures which are complex, depend upon the Swiss government to carry out, and open the door to potentially lengthy appeals.
"In the meantime, the IRS needs to keep up the pressure against offshore tax abuse, not only by going after more tax offenders, but also by taking action against other tax haven banks that have helped U.S. clients cheat on their taxes.
"Congress also needs to act. If we want to stop offshore tax abuses that produce $100 billion in unpaid taxes each year and offload that tax burden onto the backs of honest taxpayers, it is essential that Congress enact the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act which I and my colleagues introduced earlier this year and which President Obama has endorsed. Our bill would, for example, enable the United States to prohibit U.S. financial institutions from doing business with any foreign bank that impedes U.S. tax enforcement. That new authority would provide our government with a powerful new weapon to use against tax haven banks that help U.S. clients hide assets and evade U.S. taxes. The bill also contains a host of other enforcement tools that would strengthen our tax laws and help put an end to the $100 billion in offshore tax abuses each year."