Monday, September 21, 2009

Banks and secrecy: fan the flames, please

Despite the gloom on tax havens generally, we are heartened to see this report, highlighting how existing US efforts againts UBS are providing wider leverage.

"The latest agreement appears to have emboldened the IRS to widen its pursuit of tax cheats to a broad spectrum of wealth managers around the world as part of an intensifying crackdown on tax evaders."

And they quote an attorney:

“It is very possible that the IRS will be able to get strangleholds over the other banks because they’ll have specific information which will permit them to bring specific allegations of wrongdoing before the U.S. courts,” said Robert Fink, an attorney at Kostelanetz & Fink in New York. “This thing may spread like wildfire.”

And he added

"“I feel like I work in a bakery where I ask people to take numbers,” Fink said. “I have never seen such a deluge. I was thinking of getting folding chairs in our reception area.”"

And there is this detail:

The heat got turned up Friday when American clients of UBS AG were issued a letter formally warning them that their undeclared income in Switzerland may be revealed to U.S. tax authorities, Reuters reported. The letter, dated Sept. 10, warned clients they have 20 days to appoint a lawyer in Switzerland, or be assigned one by the Swiss authorities. Taxpayers who come forward are compelled to reveal names of bankers, financial advisers and others who helped hide assets from the IRS."

Let's hope this does spread like wildfire. Fan the flames.


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