The 4 pages of comments given by the Tax Division on the Program for Non-Prosecution Agreements or Non-Target Letters for Swiss Banks (US Program) intends to clarify a number of issues.

The main take-aways are :

– In the event of an early submission, the 120 days deadline still starts by default after December 31, 2013.

-The Program defines an independent examiner as a ‘qualified independent attorney or accountant’. The independent examiner needs to sign personally and the communication with the examiner is not considered as confidential or protected.

-the burden to show the applicability  of a penalty reduction rests with the bank itself. The accounts that can be taken into account to for a reduction are defined in the US Program.

Those clarifications also contain a warning to the Swiss Banks: ‘Those that have criminal exposure but fail to come forward or participate but are not fully forthcoming do so at considerable risk’.