FACTBOX-Tax amnesties around the world

October 15, 2009

    Oct 15 (Reuters) – A U.S. voluntary disclosure programme that helps wealthy Americans avoid criminal prosecution when disclosing secret offshore bank accounts expires on Oct. 15.
   The Internal Revenue Service began the offer in March, soon after Swiss bank UBS <UBSN.VX> <UBS.N> turned over the names of some U.S. account holders as part of a $780 million criminal settlement with the U.S. government.
   Some 7,500 wealthy Americans turned over information about hidden overseas assets, including some valued at more than $100 million, ahead of the amnesty programme’s Thursday deadline, the top U.S. tax collector said. [ID:nN13186960]
   Other governments around the world have also launched amnesty programmes to attract money back home.
   * Britain’s New Disclosure Opportunity runs from September 2009 until March 2010. It targets British subjects that have not paid taxes on foreign bank accounts. Those choosing to come clean would have to pay all tax due plus a surcharge of 10 percent. If they had received a letter from tax authorities during a previous 2007 amnesty but did not take advantage of it the penalty would be 20 percent.
   * Britain expects to recoup 500 million pounds ($800 million) of unpaid taxes through the scheme over four years.
   * Britain has also agreed to a special five-year tax disclosure facility aimed at covering fines or retention taxes on property in Liechtenstein. The deal would cover about 5,000 investors [ID:nLB642083]
   * France has for the first time opened a dedicated office for voluntary disclosure that would allow those with undeclared money stashed abroad to come clean. Those taking advantage of this option, would benefit from reduced sanctions and some form of anonymity. [ID:nLF949428]
   * The Italian tax amnesty, known as “scudo fiscale” runs from Sept. 15 until Dec. 15. It offers anonymity and involves a one-off payment of 5 percent of the total funds disclosed. The amnesty law was recently amended to include accounting fraud as well as tax evasion. [ID:nLU341460]
   * The amnesty is the country’s third in nine years. The government expects it to cover offshore funds worth 300 billion euros ($447 billion) but private bankers put the figure at between 50 and 100 billion euros.
   * More than 50 Canadian clients of UBS have come forward to disclose unpaid taxes and investigations have so far found $6.4 million in unreported income, according to Revenue Canada.
   * Canada did not create a special amnesty program because Canadians have 10 years to report undeclared income and pay the taxes, plus interest, to avoid prosecution.
   * A tax amnesty runs from January 2008 until December 2009.
   SOURCES: Reuters, Withers, KPMG, AIPB ($1=.6710 euros) ($1=.6259 pounds) (Compiled by Lisa Jucca, Julie Vorman; Editing by Greg Mahlich) ((zurich.newsroom@reuters.com; +41 (0)58 306 7354))
 Keywords: US/TAX EUROPE 
Thursday, 15 October 2009 07:40:56RTRS [nLE145761 ] {C}ENDS

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