According to published reports Benk Leumi, Israel’s largest bank is requiring depositors to affirm that they are not U.S. clients or disclose the existence of the accounts to the IRS. FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act virtually eliminated bank secrecy for U.S. persons goes into effect in January 2013. However, as the actions of Bank Leumi demonstrate, foreign banks with a presence in the U.S. are not waiting to rid themselves of the compliance burdens imposed by FATCA. Why should they risk the penalties when they can shift the burden to the depositors? The choice for U.S. clients is either consent to disclosure of the account to the IRS or find a new bank.
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