May 17, 2011
Monique Perry Danziger, +1 202 293 0740 ext. 222
Proposed Rule Would Require Banks to Report Information on the U.S. Accounts of Foreigners
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Treasury Department will hold a hearing tomorrow on a proposed rule requiring banks to report information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on bank accounts held by non-U.S. residents. Currently, U.S. banks are not required to give the U.S. government information about these types of accounts.
“It is absurd that our government requires banks to report information for U.S. citizens and legal residents, but not for the accounts owned by people not living here,” said Global Financial Integrity Legislative Affairs Director Heather Lowe. “In addition to posing multiple national security risks, this lack of reporting hampers the U.S. government’s ability to comply with tax information exchange agreement treaty obligations with other countries and hamstrings law enforcements’ ability to keep the proceeds of international drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption, terrorist financing and other crimes out of the U.S.”
The proposed rule was published in January 2011. Previous attempts by Treasury to implement similar rules have been blocked by those who fear that such measures would drive away foreign investment. A February 2010 Senate investigation found that millions of dollars in criminal money were finding their way into the U.S. every year, posing a massive security risk and abetting international criminal activity.
Senator Carl Levin, whose Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations conducted the investigation and subsequent hearing, commented in the February hearing’s opening remarks, “those engaged in large-scale corruption want to put their money in a modern financial system that can store, protect, invest, and transfer their funds efficiently. They want access to U.S. banks. And it is our job to stop them and keep foreign corruption out of the United States.”
Global Financial Integrity (GFI) is a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization which promotes transparency in the international financial system.
For additional information please visit www.gfip.org.