WASHINGTON – Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations which has investigated tax haven banks and offshore tax abuse, made the following statement regarding the vote of the Swiss Parliament to accept the UBS settlement:
“It’s taken two years, but the action of the Swiss Parliament today hopefully means that the United States will finally get the names of more than 4,400 U.S. accountholders suspected of opening Swiss bank accounts to dodge payment of U.S. taxes. I hope it also means that the Swiss have decided they will no longer allow bank secrecy to be used to facilitate tax evasion.
“The next step is for the Swiss to turn over the names and for the Department of Justice to take action against the thousands of U.S. tax dodgers who tried to offload their tax burden onto the backs of honest taxpayers. So far less than two dozen prosecutions have been announced; the IRS and DOJ need to intensify their efforts to bring these offshore tax cheats to justice.
“At the same time, Congress should do its part by strengthening the laws used to clamp down on offshore tax schemes. The Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, which I’ve introduced with a number of my colleagues, would authorize the U.S. Treasury to take action against any foreign bank or jurisdiction that impedes U.S. tax enforcement. That new authority would enable Treasury, for example, to prohibit U.S. banks from accepting wire transfers or honoring credit cards from a foreign bank found to be facilitating U.S. tax evasion.”