Some Swiss Banks that take part in the US Program use financial incentives to push clients to declare their account to the IRS. They also offer to share legal and accounting advisory costs.
A client entering voluntary disclosure faces fines but banks would see their fine reduced.
Banks providing some form of incentives to clients include the Swiss branch of Coutts owned by RBS, Union Bancaire Privée and Bank Coop AG, Zuger Kantonalbank.
Other banks like the Luzerner Kantonalbank generally say no to such unsolicited requests from clients for financial help in exchange for disclosing their foreign Swiss bank account to the IRS.
Category 2 banks have until mid-September according to the deadline extensions communicated by the DoJ on June 5th, 2014 to provide proofs that they encouraged clients to enter the IRS’s voluntary disclosure program. Funds disclosed by those clients could then be subtracted from a bank’s penalty amounts. The exact statement of the US Program is as follows:
The determination of the maximum dollar value of the aggregated U.S. Related Accounts may be reduced by the dollar value of each account as to which the Swiss Bank demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the Tax Division, was not an undeclared account, was disclosed by the Swiss Bank to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or was disclosed to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service through an announced Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program or Initiative following notification by the Swiss Bank
of such a program or initiative and prior to the execution of the NPA.
To provide such a proof is no easy task for banks. Banks that started for example to encourage their clients to declare their assets or close their accounts already a few years back after the UBS case would need to gather the information from their client relationship management system or files and link it directly to the voluntary declaration.