The IRS (Inland Revenue Service) in the US has ordered a subpoena which enforces a court order for the Swiss bank UBS to disclose records on a Singapore bank account owned by an American currently residing in China.
The IRS have been trying to gain access to the bank records since 2013, his complete statements were requested to be supplied from 2001 to 2011.
Until now UBS have refused to supply the accounts due to Singapore’s strict secrecy laws, which prevent disclosures without the client’s permission. Although in matters regarding criminal conduct, the jurisdiction will lift confidentiality, however in this case, no criminal charges have been brought against the owner of the account in question.
This year the IRS has petitioned a federal court in Miami to enforce the summons against UBS, stating that the international comity requires the records to be disclosed. The petition states that “the US interest in fighting tax evasion substantially outweighs the interest of Singapore in conserving the confidentiality of its bank customers.”
Singapore is currently in talks about joining the Common Reporting Standard as set up by the OECD, whereby banks are required to disclose all bank account holders’ transactions to other jurisdictions as an exchange.