Bank Zweiplus AG and Banca dello Stato del Cantone Ticino, two Category 2 banks, have reached an agreement under the US Tax Program form the US Department of Justice. ‘Swiss banks continue to accept responsibility for their involvement in the concealment of foreign assets and the evasion of tax by U.S. accountholders’ said Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division in a report.
In the Non-Prosecution Agreement (NPA) for Bank Zweiplus we learn that since August 1, 2008, the instituion maintained and serviced 44 US-related accounts with an aggregate value of c.a. $12.1m. The bank was aware that US taxpayers have a legal duty to report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) their ownership of bank accounts outside the United States and to pay taxes on income earned in such accounts. However, the bank provided a variety of traditional Swiss banking services that assisted some US clients in maintaining undeclared accounts. Bank Zweiplus cooperated with the DoJ under the US Tax Program and encouraged its US customers to enter the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program.
Bank Zweiplus will pay a penalty of $1.089m.
In the Banca dello Stato del Cantone Ticino’s NPA we learn that despite the fact that they knew about the legal duty for US tax-payers to report their incomes and assets to the IRS, the bank openend and serviced undeclared accounts. ‘Prior to 2011, Banca Stato’s relationship managers were not instructed to, and did not, evaluate or screen incoming US clients for US tax compliance status. At that time, more than 70 percent of the assets under management were related to US accountholders who had not provided a Form W-9 to the bank’ writes the DoJ.
During the applicable period, Banca dello Stato del Cantone Ticino maintained 187 US-related accounts for a maximum balance of c.a. $137m. The bank will pay a penalty of $3.393m.