US, Switzerland sign tax evasion agreement

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The Treasury says it is currently in discussions with roughly 50 countries on offshore tax evasion and has signed or initialed bilateral deals with eight separate countries.

The U.S. initialed an agreement with Italy in January. The department said in January, when it announced the final rules for FATCA, that it had also reached a deal with Denmark, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Congress passed FATCA in 2010, after the White House expressed an interest in taking on offshore tax evasion. Before the bill’s passage, federal prosecutors had charged UBS, the Swiss banking titan, with helping American clients evade U.S. taxes. The bank later turned over client information to the IRS.

FATCA forces foreign banks to pay a 30 percent withholding fee on certain payments connected to the U.S. if they don’t share information with the IRS. Critics of the law have said it is an unfair burden on banks.