Senate report: Investment banks helped foreigners evade millions in US stock dividend taxes

Los Angeles Times – Big Wall Street investment banks have designed and marketed schemes enabling non-U.S. taxpayers, including offshore hedge funds, to evade millions of dollars in taxes each year on U.S. stock dividends, Senate investigators have found.

Some banks have been crafting for more than 10 years transactions designed to enable their foreign clients to dodge U.S. taxes on dividends, while the Internal Revenue Service failed to act to prevent the abuse, two senators say.

A yearlong investigation by a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee, whose results are to be made public Thursday, found that the evasion of dividend taxes adds up to billions of dollars in revenue lost to the U.S. Treasury over the past decade.

IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman is scheduled to testify on the issue at a hearing Thursday by the investigative subcommittee. Executives of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank, and from several hedge funds also are expected to appear as witnesses.

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