Switzerland agrees on tax crackdown pact with US

ZURICH Tue Dec 4, 2012 9:41am EST

ZURICH Dec 4 (Reuters) - Switzerland has agreed to comply with U.S. disclosure rules on offshore accounts controlled by Americans set for 2014, Swiss president Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said on Tuesday.

"We have initialled the agreement," Widmer-Schlumpf said in parliament in response to questions from lawmakers, without providing further details.

The agreement, which will come up for final government approval in January, would reconcile Swiss secrecy rules with U.S. disclosure demands under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) enacted in 2010.

The act requires foreign financial institutions to tell the U.S. Internal Revenue Service about Americans' offshore accounts worth more than $50,000.

In September, Britain became the first country to finalise a tax information-sharing pact with the United States under FATCA.

That agreement spares UK banks, funds and other financial companies from reporting client information directly to the United States.

Widmer-Schlumpf denied a link between initial agreement on FATCA and separate, ongoing discussions aimed at ending U.S. probes into 11 banks suspected of helping clients dodge U.S. taxes with offshore bank accounts.

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