|US Requests UBS Disclose Records on Singapore Account|
The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has applied for a court order to force the Swiss bank UBS to disclose records on a Singapore bank account owned by a US national living in China.
The IRS reportedly tried to get hold of Ching-Ye Hsiaw's bank records in 2013, when it served a summons on UBS to deliver up his complete statements from 2001 to 2011.
UBS has so far refused to deliver up the records because Singapore's bank secrecy laws prevent disclosures without the client's permission, although the jurisdiction will lift confidentiality in cases of criminal conduct. No criminal charges have been brought against Hsiaw, however.
The IRS's latest attempt goes one step further. It has petitioned a Miami federal court to enforce the so-called 'third party recordkeeper' summons against UBS, arguing that 'international comity' requires that the records be disclosed.
'The interest of the United States in combating tax evasion by US taxpayers through the use of secret foreign bank accounts substantially outweighs the interest of Singapore in preserving the privacy of its bank customers', says the IRS petition.
Former federal prosecutor says 'They're holding UBS hostage in the US by saying you subjected yourself to US jurisdiction, now produce these records outside the US […]'. It's setting up a showdown of Singapore secrecy versus the US need to enforce its tax laws.' Neiman, is quoted saying that 'UBS can be held in contempt if they don't produce the records.'
According to Bloomberg, neither UBS nor Hsiaw could be reached for comment.
Singapore is currently consulting on joining the OECD's Common Reporting Standard, under which its banks will be required to report all account holders' transactions, and exchange them with other jurisdictions.
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Published on our website on Mar.8, 2016