WASHINGTON Feb 14 Advancing a U.S. crackdown on
tax evasion by Americans, the U.S. Treasury Department said on
Thursday Switzerland and the United States have signed a pact to
make Swiss banks disclose more information about U.S. account
The agreement is the latest in a series between the United
States and other countries designed to carry out the Foreign
Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, enacted in 2010.
The law requires foreign financial institutions to tell the
U.S. Internal Revenue Service about Americans' offshore accounts
worth more than $50,000. FATCA was enacted after a Swiss bank
scandal showed U.S. taxpayers hid millions of dollars overseas.
"Today's announcement marks a significant step forward in
our efforts to work collaboratively to combat offshore tax
evasion," said Acting Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin.
"We are pleased that Switzerland has signed a bilateral
agreement with us, and we look forward to quickly concluding
agreements based on this model with other jurisdictions," he
said in a statement from Treasury, which oversees the IRS.
FATCA imposes steep penalties beginning in 2014 on financial
institutions that do not comply with the its demands. Banks and
other financial institutions failing to comply with the law
would be frozen out of U.S. financial markets.
The Swiss Bankers Association said on Thursday it welcomes
the FATCA deal but remains critical of compliance burdens and
administrative burdens of the U.S. law.