UBS and the IRS reach a final deal:
The Swiss banking giant UBS on Wednesday reached a final deal with the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service in which it will ultimately disclose names and account details for more than 4,450 wealthy Americans suspected of tax evasion.
Details of the settlement were unveiled Wednesday by the I.R.S. commissioner, Douglas Shulman.
The agreement, he said, also allows the Swiss government to work with other Swiss financial institutions to disclose the identities of other Americans who have hidden money offshore.
UBS will notify the clients whose names are to be disclosed in coming weeks, Mr. Shulman said. Clients still have time to reveal themselves before a voluntary disclosure program ends Sept. 23 to potentially avoid prosecution and steeper penalties and fines, he said.
Should be entertaining.
$5 says Rove is on the list.
Betcha we only find out who a handful are.
Should be entertaining AND informative. What is also cool is that UK just started their voluntary disclosure program, so expect another scramble in a few months when the UK uses the U.S. precedent to pry open a few black boxes.
Yeah, and only the ones who aren’t congressmen.
If the list includes Dick Armey, Bill Frist, Richard Scaife, one hundred other conservative PAC players, and the stepmother of George Soros’ third cousin, twice removed, it will be trumpeted by the teabaggers as further proof of liberal perfidy.
Well, you KNOW Phil Gramm is on it. He lobbied extra hard against this from happening… and isn’t he even on the board of UBS or something???
What do you want to bet they release the names of a bunch of dead people?
My personal predictions include:
Dick and Betsy DeVos
Several Texas Hunts
“should be entertaining” is an understatement. i’ve already got my popcorn.
i can’t wait to see the names divulged of these “millionaire patriots” who love to tell us, and the government, what we should be doing, but can’t stand to keep their $$$ within our borders in order to fund it. i’m sure they throw a small percentage of that money at the government in order to be able to keep doing what they are doing. what a great investment congress critters are.
So if you go the voluntary disclosure route —
does your name go public or do you just pay the tax and fine and then
slink back into the shadows?
These fine Americans should be safely deposited into little boxes.
i admit it: i’m on the list. i had an anonymous swiss bank account, containing 3.2 billion dollars, u.s..
but i’m voluntarily coming clean! and i’ll pay the back taxes, even though they amount to 1.2 billion dollars!
now: since i’ve been a good guy on this, surely the irs can do me a little favor, right?
just remind me of that 12-digit account number i forgot?
Having an ad for your webhost displayed on this blog is an act of passive aggression, amirite?
Being from Nashville, I’d love to see Bill Frist on the list..
Frist on the list..
Frist on the list..
$5 says Poppy, Shrub, Jeb and the rest of the Bush clan are as well
I have a professional interest in the process of how they went from 52,000 to 4,000 without disclosing names….
I bet it was a very delicate dance – and I bet somehow UBS managed to protect their top 100 (and which=75% of the deposit volume…)
The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
Does this mean that David Brin’s Helvetian War from Earth is a non-starter now?
Would be nice if some of that $9B in cash bricks that somehow fell through accounting cracks in Iraq showed up.
A Ghost To Most
I am a Nigerian prince who, through no fault of my own, find that I have 41 million dollars (US) stuck in a bank in Switzerland.
If you could help me in retrieving said funds …..
@Brendan: Nahhh… it will be the big money boys who fund the think tanks. Look for names like Kohn, Scaife, Olin, Walton, and so on. The only way you would get Bushies in this situation would be if someone like the Saudis wanted to park some bribes…
How much money in unpaid taxes are we going to see between now and September 23?
It will be interesting to see what this does for short term tax receipts. August and September could be a big surprise to the up side.
And since we were talking about Lyndon LaRouche on another thread, whatcha wanna bet he’s on this list?
The name I’ll be looking extra hard for on that list (with the exception of the two most evil men on the planet, Cheney and Prince) is Richard Mellon Scaife. Oh, I hope against hope that name is there. And I hope he’s been cheating on his taxes for the last 30 years or so and ends up in a federal prison somewhere where he is raped every day and twice on Sundays. And I hope his neighbor, Theresa Heinz Kerry, is around when they perp walk him out of his lovely home in Upper St. Clair.
What interests me most is what Israel and various Jewish groups can do with this precedent. There are supposedly many Holocaust victims who died and with them the bank account numbers with the family fortune.
Of course, since they settled this isn’t a “precedent” as far as I understand it. Any lawyers here would know much better than I though.
I’d hold that lists release for a time, as its been reported that the likely suspects are starting to appear in tax attorneys offices with great regularity. Let them sweat. They know they’re guilty and as yet they cannot be sure their name isn’t on the list. And when the list does appear, they have to really lower the boom on those who didn’t cooperate voluntarily.
I think Kevin Drum pointed out that we are the only country in the world that taxes earnings made overseas.
When I was on Kwajalein in 1975-1978 the gold bugs were on the rise, inflation was worrying people, and
a bunchseveral guys I worked with set up Swiss bank accounts. They made about what I did an hour: $5 (tax free, mind you). To show you the possibilities, after those three years I had $$12K in savings.
I sincerely doubt that I’ll see any names of those guys on this list, but it would surely amuse me if I did.
Well, I for one am just glad that a deal was made that preserves the secrecy of Swiss banking.
To borrow a formulation, is there anything useful at all that Swiss secret banking does? In developed countries it’s used for tax evasion, in developing countries it’s used to loot the treasury prior to fleeing the country. What possible good comes from absolute secrecy about how much money someone has?
I know it’s very romantic, and to anyone who thinks they might one day need to stash large amounts of illegal money I’m sure it’s nice to know that the option stands ready, but what is it the rest of us get from it?
And what we would have lost by bullying UBS into submission? Nobody can afford to lose access to the US banking system (and especially not to both the US & UK banking systems).
What in John’s post leads folks here to think that the list will be released to anyone except the IRS?
This is just like the Nazis, of course.
There’s an exemption if you’re paying taxes in the country you live in. It’s indexed for inflation, more or less, and it’s about $85,000 now. You have to spend 330 days outside of the US to qualify. If it’s less, you divide those days by 330 and then multiply by the exemption, so if you were to spend, say 2 months in the US, then you only get about 90% of it. I don’t know whether that non-exempt amount is taxed at the lowest rate or the marginal rate, because I’ve never had to worry about that, even with the euro at a buck two-forty.
You file the 2555 or 2555-EZ form along with a 1040 that you fill with zeroes.
Jacob [email protected]
I suspect that along with gobbling up accounts of Jews lost in the Holocaust,
Swiss banks were effectively used by some people who were fleeing the Germans
and their confiscation of Jewish assets.
So bank secrecy can be used by those who fear and are fleeing their government, whether in a noble cause or not.
Cryptography can be used by dissidents and by terrorists.
Identifying which is which is the challenge.
I too am curious how many republican pioneer level contributors will be on the list. Could be very interesting. As for the Swiss, they are cold hearted mercenairies who use all seven deadly sins to maintian their wealth and security at the expense of the rest of the human race. If we could ruin Swiss banking it would be well worth it.
@bjacques: Which is why I deducted the 3% Micronesian tax withheld from each paycheck when I got back to the States and filed.
That was a good explanation of the process.
The list will be released to the IRS, not to the general public. The only way anyone will know if someone was even likely on it is when a prosecution occurs. Since the IRS only has they capacity to bring about 1000 criminal cases a year, there are an awful lot of people with those accounts who are rolling the dice. Note that even if you confess under the “amnesty” program, the IRS won’t promise not prosecute you, so there’s not a hell of a lot of incentive to fess up. 50,000+ accounts, and they got 4,450 names, all of which were probably already known via the investigations into the offshore sheltering.
From my point of view, I think sending a few rich tax cheats to prison might send a message, but these are the sort of assholes who’ll pay $100K in professional fees to avoid paying Uncle Sam an extra $10k, so I’m not sure it will have much deterrent effect.
@Northern Observer: As for the Swiss, they are cold hearted mercenairies who use all seven deadly sins to maintian their wealth and security at the expense of the rest of the human race. If we could ruin Swiss banking it would be well worth it.
Yes, the Swiss are a REAL problem for the rest of the human race.
You are a moron.
Who can’t spell.
@A Ghost To Most:
If you are related to him, I’m a princess with the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. I think we could be a match made in heaven. Smooches.
In these times I am reminded of a cheery tune from Little Jack Melody and his Young Turks.
This is excellent news for John McCain!
Wile E. Quixote
Another Little Jack Melody fan. Yay!
Nobody panic. I’m sure Phil Gramm, being an executive of UBS, was tipped off beforehand and moved his money elsewhere. You can rest easy that this Republican
valiant servant of the American peoplecorporate whore will never suffer the consequences of his criminality.
I just saw Mike G’s post. I’m with him. Given that this has been in the works for months (if not years) means that the more nefarious persons with the right contacts have shifted their accounts to harder-to-track countries.
Just Some Fuckhead
This is probably what really killed Bob Novak.
DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal)
With over 50,000 accounts at UBS and the Swiss exposing only 4,550 account holders, I’m not expecting a single prominent person to be on that list, nor any of the really rich. These are the sacrificial lambs the Swiss chose to cough up and you can bet that nobody with any power will be exposed.
That’s the way it works folks here in Amerika; the rich win and everyone else loses. SS, DD.
To borrow a formulation, is there anything useful at all that Swiss secret banking does?
It helped keep the Swiss from being invaded by Germany.
Only those “out of favor” will appear on any list, because the others will have been given a heads up that this was coming a long time ago and have moved their money.
Nice that they forfeit 40% of the account balance as a penalty for openers.
I would guess 80% Republicans.
AND you still get to vote for president. Even if you live as an expat like forever. No other country does that either.
I would be surprised if we know any of the top 5000 names. Lets face it, they are successful because neither we or the IRS knows of their activities.
Some of them are simply hiding assets from the government (or their spouses), while some of them are really dodging taxes and/or the law (i.e. money laundering, drug rings).
This doesn’t have a time impact, because most of these instances will be traceable, and thus, indictable. It can take a few years, but the statute of limitations is pretty long.
It will be interesting to see what goes down in the next year or so…
From the article:
The 4,450 accounts at UBS that are covered under the new agreement held over $18 billion at one point, according to the I.R.S. commissioner, Douglas Shulman, who called the deal “a major step forward in piercing the veil of bank secrecy.”
$18 billion ain’t no much of nothing. It averages out to a little more than $4 million per account. This is for merely rich tax cheats, not the really rich. I would also expect that it is for the politically unconnected too.
This is only headline fodder. Useful headline fodder, but headline fodder none-the-less.