The Tages Anzeiger reports that according to observers the US Department of Justice (DoJ) is struggling with the high amount of data it received from the Swiss Banks participating in the US Program.
As a major deadline for data transmission was met at the end of July, the DoJ needs to now analyse the information and confirm meeting requests. According to the agreed procedure each of the Category 2 banks has to make presentations in Washington or New York in front of the US prosecutors. During the first one, they need to demonstrate how the business with US customers was operated, who was responsible and monitoring this since 2008. In the following presentations they have to present numbers (number of accounts and aggregated assets grouped in tax compliant and non tax compliant categories) and what is referred to as the ‘leaver lists’ showing inflows and outflows to banks in- and outside of Switzerland. Next the names of employees, independent asset managers external lawyers, fiduciaries, and other third parties linked to the US related accounts will be transmitted.
In order to present its results to the authorities, every bank was advised to hire a recognized US tax attorney as soft factors also play an important role. These US attorneya conducted interviews with managers and employees in Switzerland. This had significant costs for the banks as a leading US advocate of a top tier law firm charges $1000-1200 per hour, plus airfare and stay.
According to consultants, lawyers, and independent auditors, the DoJ is inclined to recognize ‘special circumstances’ or counter-evidences, which can lead to reduced fines. After signing up to the US Tax Program and conducting the related assessment some banks concluded that they do not hold any undeclared US assets above the $50k threshold.
Check out our page about the banks and fine: http://www.ustaxprogram.com/banks/