U.S. aims at five EU tax evasion deals this month

WASHINGTON Mon Jun 4, 2012 8:04pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury Department aims to complete agreements with five EU countries by the end of June to crack down on American tax evasion, and cooperation with more countries should be announced soon, a senior Treasury official said on Monday.

In February, the Treasury announced it would work with the five - France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom - to implement the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, a 2010 anti-tax evasion law.

The aim is to create a means for these countries to collect the information from their banks and send it to the United States so that the banks will not have to enter into separate data disclosure agreements with the tax-collecting Internal Revenue Service.

The Treasury also hopes by the end of June to complete a second model that will enlist the help of other countries, Manal Corwin, deputy assistant secretary for international tax Affairs at Treasury, told a tax conference in Washington.

With both models, "we hope to have something published by the end of the month," Corwin said. The government-to-government agreements "will be widely adopted," and will include countries outside the EU, she said.

Enacted by the U.S. Congress, FATCA is intended to help the IRS gather information about Americans' accounts with more than $50,000 in assets in foreign banks and other institutions.

Scheduled to take effect in 2013, the new law as drafted calls for banks and financial institutions worldwide to gather the information and directly disclose it to the IRS.

The work with the five EU countries aims to ease the burdens FATCA has imposed on banks and financial institutions that have complained about costs and legal issues.

In February Treasury said that under a reciprocating agreement, the United States would collect and share information with the five participating EU countries about accounts held by their citizens in U.S. financial institutions.

Noticeably absent from the new framework then were major international banking nations such as Canada, Switzerland and the Netherlands, not to mention tax haven jurisdictions such as Ireland, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

(Reporting By Patrick Temple-West; Editing by Howard Goller, Gary Hill)