The Senate has passed a government plan to let Swiss banks settle US tax probes (Keystone)
The Swiss Senate has passed a government plan to let Swiss banks settle tax probes by the United States. The draft law now goes to the House of Representatives next week.The 46-seat chamber on Wednesday approved the plan, designed to solve the issue without overturning Swiss banking secrecy laws, by 24 votes to 15 with two abstentions.
Lawmakers are divided over the plan to allow Swiss banks, suspected of helping wealthy Americans hide their money, to disclose data to US prosecutors to help settle investigations into tax evasion.
If the draft law succeeds, Swiss banks then have 120 days to hand over the internal information to US authorities.
The cumbersomely named “Federal Act on Measures to Facilitate the Resolution of the Tax Dispute between Swiss Banks and the United States” intends to put legacy issues to bed.
US prosecutors must still formally ask the Swiss authorities for client names and account details under the existing double taxation agreement between the two countries.
Swiss banks would also be authorised to pass on the names of their own employees that have been involved in US client business.