Law Firm BakerHostetler Comments on Department of Justice Offer of Voluntary Disclosure to All Swiss Banks Over U.S. Accounts

Aug 30, 2013, 09:54 ET from BakerHostetler


WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- On August 29, The Department of Justice issued a joint statement by the United States and Switzerland, which sets forth a voluntary disclosure program offered to Swiss banks that held accounts of U.S. persons.   

Under the program, Swiss banks will be granted a non-prosecution agreement from the Department of Justice in exchange for the Bank paying a penalty and identify all of its U.S. account holders to the DOJ.  For banks that are in compliance with certain provisions of FATCA, a newly issued statute governing global banking, or who perform internal investigations demonstrating no violation of U.S. law, the penalties, which can range from 20 percent to 50 percent of the highest balance in the account of the U.S. account holder, will not be assessed on the bank.

"This is truly a unique program - offering a voluntary disclosure program to an entire financial industry in a foreign country - thereby forcing U.S. persons to make a voluntary disclosure before their accounts are given up and imposing steep voluntary civil monetary penalties on banks whose customers continue to hide," says Jim Mastracchio, Co-Chair of BakerHostetler's Tax Controversy Practice. Certain targeted foreign financial institutions eligible to come forward and make the voluntary disclosure may not have ever been subject to U.S. jurisdiction for civil or criminal sanctions. "This is really a remarkable agreement and a game changer in terms of the face, and pace, of global tax enforcement," Mastracchio added.

According to the terms of the agreement, information regarding the movement of funds from Switzerland to the United States and other countries, through correspondent banks, could also be implicated in the process. "If U.S. persons have not made a voluntary disclosure for their off-shore accounts, time is clearly running out," Mastracchio said.  

For questions regarding this announcement or the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program available to U.S. persons, you can reach Mr. Mastracchio at 202.861.1650 or

About BakerHostetler


Founded in 1916, BakerHostetler is among the nation's 100 largest law firms with 750 attorneys coast to coast, delivering the highest quality legal counsel on the most complex and critical issues facing clients today. The firm has offices in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Costa Mesa, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando and Washington, D.C. Its five primary practice groups are Business, Employment, Intellectual Property, Litigation and Tax. For more information, please visit

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