Page last updated at 14:15 GMT, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Swiss set to share UBS tax data

UBS logo
UBS has been forced to hand over bank account details

Switzerland's authorities have told more than 500 clients of Swiss bank UBS that their account details are about to be given to US tax authorities.

They are the first of a list of almost 4,500 names that the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) suspects of using secret bank accounts to avoid tax.

The move is the latest stage in a long-running wrangle between the Swiss authorities, UBS and the IRS.

The US accused UBS of hiding nearly $15bn in assets of US customers.

Tax crackdown

US authorities had been concerned that its citizens were using Switzerland's notoriously secretive banking system to avoid paying tax on income and assets.

The US Justice Department originally asked for the details of more than 50,000 accounts - something that was fiercely resisted by both the Swiss authorities and the bank, fearful that their reputation for discretion would be fatally undermined.

But UBS's position was weakened when it admitted it helped thousands of US clients use Swiss bank accounts to evade taxes. The three sides later agreed in August to concentrate on certain accounts.

Each of these 500 individuals, its believed, may have hidden money in a UBS account. But the Swiss authorities do not necessarily have concrete proof of tax evasion.

One reason for handing over details is simply if the account held more than one million Swiss francs and remained undisclosed between 2001 and 2008.

Clients have a month in which to appeal against the handover.

Print Sponsor

UBS boss sets out turnaround plan
17 Nov 09 |  Business
US agrees Swiss tax deal over UBS
19 Aug 09 |  Business

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific