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When Scott Schmith finally got his Swiss passport last month, it was time for him to take a drastic step: hand back his American one.
Among the reasons was a pending U.S. regulation aimed at tracking down tax cheats that is making life difficult for some Americans abroad. These expatriates say that foreign banks, which have expressed concern about compliance costs and potential penalties for failing to report on their American clients, are turning away their business.
The new law, expected to be phased in over several years, requires foreign banks to identify Americans among their clients and to provide their financial information to the Internal Revenue Service. Just one person overlooked could mean a penalty equivalent to 30% of a bank's U.S. income.
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