Tax rule would force banks to disclose identities of foreigners

Simeon Placid - April 24 2012, 4:53 PM

Tax rule would force banks to disclose identities of foreigners who make US deposits

WASHINGTON - Over the objections of Florida lawmakers, the U.S. Treasury Department has issued a new rule that will force banks to disclose the identity of foreigners who deposit their money in America.

The regulation - which represents a major shift in policy - goes into effect next January and has alarmed the entire Florida congressional delegation, which is concerned the requirement will prompt foreigners to move their money to countries that require less disclosure.

"This is going to have a devastating impact on Florida and Florida banks," said U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who has filed legislation, along with U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., to block the rule.

Rubio and others argue the change, announced late Tuesday, will harm states such as Florida whose banks have significant foreign deposits.

According to one estimate, foreigners have put as much as $100 billion in Florida banks - roughly $1 out of every $4 in the state.

One banking official said many of these customers, from countries with crime or corruption problems, are "trip-wire sensitive" and could bolt because of fears their identities would get back to their home countries.

Others may be dissidents concealing assets from repressive regimes.

"When they come into our banks, they don

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