Swiss-Indian AEOI Declaration Signed | FATCA Lawyer New York

On November 22, 2016, Switzerland and India signed a joint declaration on the introduction of the automatic exchange of information (AEOI) in tax matters on a reciprocal basis. The joint declaration (Swiss-Indian AEOI Declaration) was signed by Sushil Chandra, chair of India’s Central Board of Direct Taxes, and Gilles Roduit, deputy chief of mission of the Swiss Embassy in India.

Swiss-Indian AEOI Declaration Will Follow CRS

The Swiss-Indian AEOI Declaration foresees that AEOI will be based on the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) adopted by OECD. From the Swiss legal perspective, the AEOI with India will be based on the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (MCAA). The MCAA is based on the international standard for the exchange of information developed by the OECD. The OECD introduced the standard in February of 2014; the G-20 leaders approved it in November of 2015 during the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia.

Implementation Time Frame for Swiss-Indian AEOI Declaration

Both governments committed to start collecting the CRS-required data in 2018. The actual exchange of the CRS data will commence in 2019 and continue onwards. Both governments must notify each other of relevant developments regarding the implementation of the CRS in their domestic legislation.

Implications of Swiss-Indian AEOI Declaration for US Taxpayers

The Swiss-Indian AEOI Declaration increases the probability of the IRS being able to obtain FATCA data from both countries regarding noncompliant US taxpayers with assets in Switzerland and/or India. The reason is simple: as financial institutions comb through their client data, there is an increased probability that they may encounter that some of their taxpayers are US taxpayers whose information needs to be reported to the IRS under FATCA.

Moreover, under the Swiss-Indian AEOI Declaration, both countries anticipate that their taxpayers will participate in a local voluntary disclosure program as part of the transaction to the AEOI system. Both countries must notify each other about these programs and it is possible that more information than usual will be revealed during these voluntary disclosures. Hence, the local Swiss and Indian voluntary disclosure programs further increase the probability that the IRS may find out about the assets of noncompliant US taxpayers.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Help With the IRS Voluntary Disclosure of Your Unreported Foreign Assets and Foreign Income

If you are a US tax resident with undisclosed assets in India and/or Switzerland, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help with your IRS voluntary disclosure of these assets as soon as possible. In today’s world, the probability that the information regarding your undisclosed assets will be detected by the IRS has increased exponentially as the recent Swiss-Indian AEOI Declaration demonstrates. Combined with FATCA, you are running an unacceptable risk of IRS detection that may result in the imposition of draconian IRS penalties, including criminal penalties.

Over the past more than 10 years, Sherayzen Law Office has helped hundreds of US taxpayers with assets around the globe to bring their tax affairs into full compliance with US tax laws, and we can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

Last Swiss Bank Program Category 2 Resolution

On January 27, 2016, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) declared the last Swiss Bank Program Category 2 Resolution. The Swiss Bank Program was proclaimed on August 29, 2013, and constituted an unprecedented triumph of US economic might over the most formidable bank secrecy bulwark (though, already a greatly weakened one since the 2008 UBS case) which Switzerland had been for hundreds of years.

Under the Swiss Bank Program, the Swiss banks were forced to turn over a large amount of information regarding foreign accounts held by US persons, cooperate with US information requests, and, in case of category 2 banks, pay a fine. In return, the Swiss banks were provided a guarantee against US criminal prosecution in the form of non-prosecution agreements.

The Swiss Bank Program was successful, though not every eligible Swiss bank actually chose to participate in the Program. The most profitable part of the Program consisted of the Category 2 banks, which had to pay fines as a condition of their participation in the Swiss Bank Program.

The first resolution with a Category 2 bank occurred on March 30, 2015. On January 27, 2016, the last Swiss Bank Program Category 2 resolution took place after reaching a Non-Prosecution Agreement with HSZH Verwaltungs AG (HSZH).

In total, the DOJ signed Non-Prosecution Agreements with about 80 banks and collected more than $1.36 billion in Swiss Bank Penalties, including $49 million from the last Swiss Bank Program Category 2 resolution. While this amount pales in comparison with the originally-projected amounts (due to penalty mitigation), the enormous impact the Program has had on the worldwide US tax compliance and convincing foreign governments to accept FATCA render this Program an important success for the US government.

The final Swiss Bank Program Category 2 resolution marked the end of the Category 2 part of the Swiss Bank Program, but an important question remains – will we see the re-appearance of the Swiss Bank Program with Category 2 banks in another country? While the implementation of FATCA reduces the probability of a chance of another program similar to Swiss Bank Program, one cannot fully discount this possibility. It is possible that the IRS will identify another important center (such as the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Isle of Mann, Singapore, et cetera) of US tax non-compliance based on the information collected in the Swiss Bank Program and attack this center.

On the other hand, one can also see the appearance of a global “Swiss Bank Program” which banks of any country can enter in order to prevent US criminal prosecution.

Whatever form the future voluntary disclosure program for foreign banks will take, one can be certain that the last Swiss Bank Program Category 2 Resolution with HSZH was not the last IRS enforcement effort with respect to foreign banks.