Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Credit Suisse Moves to Assure U.S. Client Compliance (4/3/12)

Credit Suisse is requiring U.S. clients to complete a form regarding their U.S. tax compliance.  In addition to a certification from the U.S. client, the form requires that a paid U.S. tax preparer sign the certification as well.  The form as linked in the article cited below is here.

The certifications include the following (which I summarize from a very quick review):

1. full compliance with U.S. federal, state and local tax and reporting obligations with respect to income from the account, including checking the appropriate box for the Schedule B foreign account question.  This seems to apply to future and past years.

2. for the 2010 taxable year, identification of the U.S. return preparer with address and either (i) if a paid preparer, the PTIN and EIN of the firm or (ii) a check the box to indicate that the preparer was not a paid preparer.

3.  full timely compliance with FBAR reporting requirements for 2010 and for "taxable years in which the undersigned has had accounts with the Bank," including (a) for the year 2010, whether the form was (i) prepared and filed by the return preparer; (ii) prepared by the return preparer and filed by the client, or (iii) not prepared by the return preparer but filed by the client on his / her own and (b) for the year 2011, whether the form will be  prepared and filed by the preparer or by the client.

4.  Authorizations allowing the Bank to inquire of the return preparer and the return  preparer to disclose certain information about these matters to the Bank.

5.  a Paid Preparer Certification.

Unless I have misinterpreted the scope of the questions from my hurried review, I don't think the form is as tightly written as it should be to make clear precisely what is being covered.  Still, it will scare away many misadventurers and perhaps placate the IRS / DOJ at the margins in their consideration of appropriate action against Credit Suisse.


Michael Bundz, Major Swiss banking group issues US tax compliance form to its clients (USTaxOnline 3/27/12), here (with the link to the pdf of the certification form).


  1. I've seen similar, although not as thorough, certifications requested by other foreign banks (most recently, Israel's Bank Leumi) regarding their US clients, along with IRS Forms W-9.

    Most Swiss banks are closing out accounts of US taxpayers, even if the taxpayer provides a W-9 and certifies that the account is fully US-tax compliant, or else the Swiss banks are transferring the accounts to an SEC-registered, fully transparent subsidiary. Seems like Credit Suisse may be taking this step to show DOJ how serious it is about US tax compliance, to avoid further legal action.

  2. Also many smaller ones are taking the very safe route of closing the accounts, sending a regret letter and leaving
    even long time customers to fend for themselves. this is sad. I think for smaller banks the cost of becoming FATCA compliant compared to the profit margin of retaining US persons could be higher and hence the business decision as what needs to be done would be clear.

  3. That is what should have been done to begin with. Instead of making so many people miserable IRS/DOJ needed to fix the root cause and not punish folks/banks left and right.

  4. Does this include "US Persons" living IN Switzerland? It is very unclear from the form.

    1. I am not sure the form is a masterpiece of clarity. Still, I can't imagine why it would not include US persons living in Switzerland.

      Jack Townsend


Please make sure that your comment is relevant to the blog entry. For those regular commenters on the blog who otherwise do not want to identify by name, readers would find it helpful if you would choose a unique anonymous indentifier other than just Anonymous. This will help readers identify other comments from a trusted source, so to speak.