Amazing article which begins with:
As the first of two deadlines passes for Swiss banks to sign up to a United States tax declaration programme, experts have warned that the associated legal costs of complying with the treaty could “kill” some smaller banks.
Big banks, which sparked the US crackdown by knowingly or recklessly harbouring untaxed assets, have the financial clout to absorb costs and fines. But regional institutions, making up one in four of all Swiss banks, may face a harsher ultimate penalty, despite shouldering a far lesser burden of guilt than larger rivals.
In August, Switzerland agreed to US demands that force banks to come clean about their US clients. Under the terms of the deal, any bank found to have a single tax evader on their books is automatically catapulted into the same liability category as larger rivals.
The Swiss financial regulator has requested banks to come forward by December 9 if they intend to sign on to the US tax deal. By the end of the year they need to have informed the US authorities.
While eventual fines may be lower than more culpable peers, the administrative and legal costs of dealing with the US authorities could run into millions of francs.
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