On Tuesday, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act went into effect,requiring foreign banks to reveal American accounts holding more than $50,000. The controversial act marks a significant step in the United States' effort to make banking transparent around the globe. So far, 80 countries, including China, Russia and Switzerland, and 77,000 financial institutions have registered. All foreign financial institutions are now required to identify their American customers and disclose all U.S.-related information about them to the IRS, or face a 30% tax on certain payments. The act was signed into law in 2010 by President Obama in effort stave off tax evasion by U.S. citizens.

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