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US tax laws to hit banks

The government is seeking to secure a deal with US authorities aimed at easing the effect on Australian banks of tough new anti-tax avoidance laws.

The move follows intense lobbying by Australian bank chiefs against the rules that require lenders here to identify American citizens and companies sheltering assets and investments offshore to avoid tax.

The US rules, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, are due to come into effect from next July and are designed to help the US government track down any overseas assets and income of US tax evaders.

A Treasury consultation paper issued yesterday has confirmed that Canberra was considering an agreement with the US.

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