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Banking & Financial Services Alert

Several foreign countries have recently adopted measures aimed at identifying assets of their residents held abroad. In some cases, the focus of such foreign governments’ inquiries is bank accounts and other assets hidden by their residents in the U.S. The U.S. government has supported these foreign government measures in many ways. For example, the U.S. has signed, or is in the process of signing, about 45 FATCA reciprocal intergovernmental agreements, which commit the U.S. Treasury to seek Congressional authorization to require U.S. financial institutions to supply data on accounts owned by residents of the foreign country to the IRS. The IRS would then automatically annually turn this account data over to the foreign account owner’s home country. The U.S. has also signed the new Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, already signed or ratified by about 75 foreign jurisdictions. If ratified by the U.S. Senate, this Convention will commit the IRS to cooperate with foreign income tax proceedings, such as by levying on U.S. accounts of delinquent foreign taxpayers where collection efforts in their home country are unavailing. The IRS has also approved issuing summonses seeking to obtain from U.S. financial institutions information on foreign account holders, based on requests from foreign governments concerning groups of U.S. accounts associated with behavior showing a high likelihood of foreign income tax evasion, even though the requesting foreign government was unable to name the specific foreign owners of those U.S. accounts.

These foreign government actions, and U.S. government response in support of them, in the specific case of Spain, are described in the attached law review article, published in “Quincena Fiscal” in Spain. To read this article, written in Spanish by a Professor of Tax Law at the University of Valencia and Alan S. Lederman of the Gunster Tax Practice Group. click here: “Las nuevas medidas fiscales internacionales adoptadas en España en relación con la evasión fiscal y la reducción del déficit público.”

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This publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this publication.

Gunster, Florida’s law firm for business, provides full-service legal counsel to leading organizations and individuals from its 11 offices statewide. Established in 1925, the firm has expanded, diversified and evolved, but always with a singular focus: Florida and its clients’ stake in it. A magnet for business-savvy attorneys who embrace collaboration for the greatest advantage of clients, Gunster’s growth has not been at the expense of personalized service but because of it. The firm serves clients from its offices in Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa, The Florida Keys, Vero Beach and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With more than 160 attorneys and 200 committed support staff, Gunster is ranked among the National Law Journal’s list of the 350 largest law firms. More information about its practice areas, offices and insider’s view newsletters is available at www.gunster.com.

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