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More Banks Join US-Swiss Tax Program

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor , 16 December 2013

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Banque Cantonale Vaudoise has decided to take part in the US-Swiss agreement over tax, choosing to do so as a “category 2” bank where there is some risk that US authorities might find examples of tax evasion by American clients.

[tag|Banque Cantonale Vaudoise|]Banque Cantonale Vaudoise[/tag] has decided to take part in the US-Swiss agreement over tax, choosing to do so as a “category 2” bank where there is some risk that US authorities might find examples of tax evasion by American clients.

Meanwhile, [tag|St Galler Kantonalbank|]St Galler Kantonalbank[/tag] said it is taking part in the program as a category 2 bank.

Last week, banks such as [tag|Vontobel|]Vontobel[/tag] began to announce they were taking part in a program overseen by the US Department of Justice that was agreed with the Swiss government in August this year. Swiss banks are deciding how they will sign up to the pact, designed to resolve a long-running dispute about tax evasion between Switzerland and the US. There are a number of different categories that firms can state they fall into, depending on whether they think they have violated laws about helping US tax evaders, or not.

“BCV has decided to participate in the US Department of Justice (DoJ) program concerning the US-Swiss tax dispute and will do so as a category 2 financial institution. This will not affect the bank’s distribution policy,” BCV said in a statement today.

“Owing to its market position in the Lake Geneva region – a highly international area – BCV has clients who are considered to be US Persons. Most are Swiss people living in the USA, Americans living in the Canton of Vaud, or dual citizens. As previously announced, US Persons have never been a target market for BCV, and BCV has never conducted business or client acquisition activities on US soil,” the bank continued.

“Over the past few months, BCV has been carrying out an extensive review of its business practices. The bank is convinced that its handling of US clients has been in line with Swiss laws and regulations. Moreover, BCV has never had a policy aimed at facilitating non-compliance by US Persons with their tax obligations. Given the uncertainty as to exactly what actions the DoJ will target as being non-compliant with US law, BCV cannot determine with certainty whether the US authorities will find fault with BCV’s handling of US clients. As a result, and in keeping with the bank’s sound approach to risk management, BCV has decided to participate in the program, for the time being as a category 2 financial institution,” it said.

BCV’s subsidiary Piguet Galland & Cie has also opted to take part in the program as a category 2 financial institution, it added.

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