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United States Investigation of Swiss Banking Giant UBS

In June 2007, the United States government launched a civil and criminal investigation against Swiss banking giant UBS AG (“UBS”) and its U.S. account holders, many of whom had allegedly violated United States law by failing to disclose the existence of offshore accounts valued at $10,000 or more on their individual tax returns.

The U.S. government agreed not to prosecute UBS for its actions in assisting U.S. taxpayers evade U.S. taxes through the use of offshore accounts, resting on the condition that UBS disclose the names and account details of its 4,450 largest accounts held by U.S. citizens suspected of tax evasion.

The legal process surrounding this disclosure order was fraught with disagreement. The parties used international tax law to protect their interests and rights:

  • Shortly after this agreement was reached, however, a Swiss Court issued a ruling temporarily blocking the agreement between UBS and the U.S. government.
  • On June 15th, the Swiss Parliament voted to effectively overturn the Swiss Court’s ruling blocking the agreement between UBS and the U.S. government and giving the green light to UBS to disclose the names that it had agreed to disclose.
  • UBS has spent the month of July gathering the information required by the United States under the agreement. It is very likely that UBS will turn over the names of over 4,500 United States taxpayers holding offshore accounts at UBS.

For UBS account holders who have already come forward through the Voluntary Disclosure Program, these events should not be a concern. For individuals holding offshore accounts at UBS or any other offshore financial institution the writing on the wall is clear: You could face serious criminal and civil penalties.

I’m Holding an Offshore Account. Am I Violating U.S. Tax Laws?

If you have an offshore account with UBS that you have not disclosed previously, time is of the essence. Seek legal advice immediately from an experienced tax lawyer who is familiar with the law on offshore bank account enforcement.

Voluntary disclosures are subject to strict rules and guidelines. As extremely complex and sophisticated documents, they require strict attention to detail in order to be completed accurately. Mistakes in completion can lead to more potential harm for offshore account holders.

Although the Amnesty Program has ended, at Brown, PC, we continue to use the voluntary disclosure provisions of the Internal Revenue manual to help protect individuals from the threat of criminal prosecution.

Do You Owe Taxes on a Foreign Bank Account?  Contact Our National Law Firm

From our Texas offices in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and our Washington, D.C. offices, Brown, PC, represents businesses and individuals across the United States and internationally. If you are concerned that you may have violated federal tax laws or wish to discuss a possible voluntary disclosure, contact us online or call us toll free at 888-870-0025 to speak confidentially with attorney Lawrence Brown.