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Tax Law

The U.S. - Swiss Spat: On Leaver Lists and the Like

I have made only passing reference to so-called "leaver lists" in the U.S. - Swiss offshore account spat. Because of recent developments, I thought I would pass on what I know about those lists. I hope that readers with more nuanced information with add to, clarify or correct this blog by making comments.

The U.S. needs information on U.S. depositors using Swiss banks for tax evasion. Relatedly, the U.S. needs information on the Swiss banks involved and the individuals related in some way to enabling the U.S. depositors in their U.S. tax evasion. These include the banks and the persons associated with the banks (employees or independent persons such as attorneys with a relationship with the banks).

As to U.S. depositor information, Switzerland has historically not provided information about U.S. depositors, except pursuant to its restrictive interpretation of the double-tax treaty exchange of information provision. That interpretation required the U.S. to name the depositor and give some indication of tax fraud and the like. While the Swiss might relax that, by interpretation, the Swiss usually would not respond to what I call John Doe treaty requests -- i.e., identifying persons by categories rather than by individual names which the U.S. does not know. However, as I noted in a recent blog, Switzerland has relaxed its rules about John Doe treaty requests, which it calls "group requests." Swiss Court Ruling in Credit Suisse Case (Federal Tax Crimes Blog 7/8/13), here. As best I understand this relaxed interpretation, the U.S. must still provide some information indicating fraud in order for the Swiss to respond.

View Jack Townsend's opinion in its entirety on the Federal Tax Crimes blog site.

For additional insight, explore Tax Crimes, authored by Jack Townsend and available at the LexisNexis® Store


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