US extends deadline for Swiss banks in tax case

Tax evasion: Swiss banks are eligible for a non-prosecution agreement if they come clean and face fines Keystone

The United States Department of Justice on Thursday extended by one month the deadline for so-called Category 2 Swiss banks suspected of helping wealthy Americans evade taxes to turn over information.

This content was published on June 6, 2014 - 07:58 and agencies

More than 100 banks that have a reason to believe they may have committed tax offences, defined as Category 2 banks, have signed up to the programme. They are eligible for a non-prosecution agreement if they come clean and face fines.

The banks now have until July 31 to turn over the necessary information. The Department of Justice said it had extended the original June 30 deadline because some banks were having trouble verifying whether an account was undeclared or disclosed in a timely manner to the US Internal Revenue Service.

The Swiss government-brokered programme requires the Category 2 banks to hand over some previously hidden information and face penalties equivalent to up to 50% of the assets they managed on behalf of wealthy Americans.

Last month Credit Suisse, which was one of 14 Category 1 banks, became the largest bank in decades to plead guilty to a US criminal charge and will pay more than $2.5 billion (CHF2.2 billion) in penalties for helping Americans evade taxes.

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