Under the terms of the Swiss-U.S. treaty signed in August, the deadline to join the U.S. Department of Justice program was December 31, 2013. This program allows Swiss banks to reduce their criminal liability to a civil offense and pay a financial penalty if the banks come clean about their American tax-evading clients. As of the New Year, at least 60 Swiss banks have now signed up for the program.
The Department of Justice arranges these banks into four categories, depending on the level of tax evasion. This ranges from category one for banks that are already under active investigation for suspected tax evasion offenses, to category four for banks with very limited exposure to foreign clients.
Below is a detailed breakdown of the different categories, and the banks that are currently signed up under each category:
Category One consists of banks that are currently under active investigation for suspected tax evasion. This includes Credit Suisse, HSBC Privatbank, Julius Baer, Zurich and Basel cantonal banks, Bank Frey, Neue Zürcher Bank, Pictet, Liechtensteinische Landesbank, Bank Leumi, Bank Hapoalim, Bank Mizrahi, Rahn & Bodmer, and Bank Wegelin.
Category Two consists of banks that know or suspect they may have committed tax evasion offences in the United States. This includes the cantonal banks of Aargau, Bern, Fribourg, Ticino, Vaud, Valais, Zug as well as Bank Coop, Bank Linth LLB, Banque Privée Edmond de Rothschild, Geneva, Graubünden, Jura, Lucerne, Saanen Bank, Valiant, VP Bank (Schweiz), Union Bancaire Privée, Neuchâtel, Nidwalden, Schaffhausen, St Gallen, Cornèr Bank, EFG International, Hyposwiss, Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, Lombard Odier, Migros Bank, Piguet Galland, Postfinance, and Rothschild Bank.
Category Three consists of banks that have American clients, but the banks believe that they, and their clients, have fully complied with United States tax regulations. This includes Cembra Money Bank, Bâloise Bank SoBa, Vontobel, VZ Depotbank, Thurgauer KB and Raiffeisen.
Category Four consists of banks that have very limited exposure to foreign clients (no more than 2% of the total client base is foreign). This includes Acrevis Bank, AEK Bank, DC Bank, Regiobank Solothurn, as well as the cantonal banks of Appenzell, Glarus, Basel-Country, Schwyz, Obwalden, and Uri.
If you have an undisclosed account in one of these banks, you now have only one choice: make a voluntary disclosure before the IRS opens a criminal investigation into your foreign account. If you continue to play the waiting game and don’t do anything, these Swiss banks will hand your account information over to the IRS, and there is a good chance you could end up behind bars. Don’t let this happen to you! We can help…