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77,000 foreign banks to share tax info with US

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offshore bankingMore than 77,000 foreign banks have agreed to share information about U.S. account holders as part of a crackdown on offshore tax evasion, the Treasury Department said Monday.

The list includes 515 Russian financial institutions. Russian banks had to apply directly to the tax-collecting Internal Revenue Service because the U.S. broke off negotiations with Russia over an information-sharing agreement after Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Nearly 70 countries have agreed to share information from their banks as part of a U.S. law that targets Americans hiding assets overseas. Participating countries include all the world’s financial giants, as well as many places where Americans have traditionally hid assets, including Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.

Under the law, foreign banks that do not agree to share information with the IRS face steep penalties when doing business in the U.S. The law requires American banks to withhold 30 percent of certain payments to foreign banks that don't participate in the program - a significant price for access to the world's largest economy.

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