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Offshore tax bill sought as health bill add-on
October 7, 2009 / 8:40 PM / 8 years ago

Offshore tax bill sought as health bill add-on

WASHINGTON, Oct 7 (Reuters) - A prominent Democrat will offer a controversial bill to target tax evasion by U.S. citizens and corporations to the main healthcare reform legislation in the Senate, an aide said on Wednesday.

Democrat Senator Carl Levin will offer his Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act as an amendment to the Senate Finance Committee’s healthcare bill when it reaches the Senate floor, according to a Levin aide.

The tax haven bill, backed by President Barack Obama when he was a senator, is widely feared by banks and investors. It would hike penalties for failing to disclose offshore holdings, target dozens of offshore jurisdictions for attention and ban the patenting of tax avoidance scams, among other provisions.

Governments around the world including the United States have cracked down on tax evasion as they look to close budget gaps widening amid the global recession.

Swiss bank UBS UBSN.VX AG earlier this year agreed to pay $780 million to settle criminal claims that it helped U.S. citizens evade taxes, and in August agreed to turn over 4,450 names of clients with undisclosed offshore accounts.

The proposal’s fate is uncertain, as Senator Max Baucus, Democratic chairman of the finance panel, has jurisdiction over the issue and has favored a far more limited approach.

In addition, many on the finance panel have said they would like to keep the bill focused on healthcare.

The Joint Committee on Taxation has said the Stop Haven Abuse Act could raise nearly $30 billion over a decade. The bill has several co-sponsors, but has no Republican backing.

The Senate Finance Committee is nearing a vote on its healthcare bill, which must be merged with another version from a different panel. It could then go to the Senate floor.

It then must be reconciled with three separate proposals in the U.S. House of Representatives. (Reporting by Kim Dixon; Editing by Gary Hill)

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