HSBC hands over list of 8,000 Israeli Swiss accounts

Moshe Asher

The Israel Tax Authority is checking the information on the lists to see if there is any unreported capital.

Today (Monday), the Israel Tax Authority announced it had been in contact with the French Tax Authority for 18 months, since the existence of a HSBC bank Swiss branch client list became known, in order to receive the list of the bank's Israeli clients.

Talks and efforts have recently yielded fruit, with the Israel Tax Authority receiving information on over 8,000 Israeli clients with accounts in HSBC's Swiss branch.

This list joins other lists of Israelis with bank accounts abroad, which the Tax Authority has managed to obtain over the past few years, the most noteworthy of which was the UBS bank client list, the exposure of which has led to the questioning of dozens of unreported clients and even to some indictments being brought recently. The publishing of the Panama papers also enabled the Tax Authority to act on various levels, resulting in it currently possessing extensive information on Israelis who founded companies in Panama and other tax shelter states.

The law states that Israeli citizens are authorized to have a bank account abroad as long as they report it and the resulting revenue (interest, dividends, capital profits etc.) to the Tax Authority. The input recently received by the Tax Authority includes a wide range of records documenting the bank's conduct with its clients. During the first stage, expected to take several months, the Tax Authority will examine and sort the material, comparing it to the statements made by these Israeli nationals to the tax authorities. This examination is supposed to filter out the clients that reported the accounts as well as those who reported as part of the voluntary disclosure procedure.

About a month ago, following the legislation passed in the Knesset stating that serious tax violations will be classified predicate offenses according to the Prohibition of Money Laundering Law and in view of the strong response and success of the voluntary disclosure procedure, the Tax Authority announced about a month ago that the deadline for submitting requests will be extended until the end of 2016.

Since this initiative was launched in September 2014, an overall of 5,360 voluntary disclosure requests have been submitted, uncovering capital worth NIS 18.6 billion, for the Tax Authority's routine reporting systems.

Tax Authority Director General Moshe Asher said, "Receiving the list is one of the significant products of the fight against unreported capital and joins legislation and other efforts to acquire information on Israelis with bank accounts and assets abroad. I use this opportunity to call on Israelis with unreported capital aboard who have not yet applied to submit an application for voluntary disclosure as per the procedure."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 1, 2016

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

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