RELIGION

Vatican agrees to share tax info with the US in new step to improve bank's transparency

  • A worshipper tosses a hat into the air as Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    A worshipper tosses a hat into the air as Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • Bishops take shelter from the sun as Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Bishops take shelter from the sun as Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • A worshipper tosses a hat into the air as Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    A worshipper tosses a hat into the air as Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

The Vatican has agreed to share tax information with the United States in its latest move to improve the reputation of its scandal-marred bank and crack down on tax cheats.

Vatican and U.S. officials signed an agreement Wednesday in which the Holy See committed to comply with a 2010 U.S. law designed to encourage — some say force — foreign financial institutions to share information about U.S. account holders with U.S. tax authorities. The aim is to make it more difficult for Americans to use overseas accounts to evade U.S. taxes.

The Vatican bank has long been accused by Italian authorities of being an offshore tax haven. Under then-Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican began reforming its financial institutions to comply with international standards to fight money laundering and tax evasion.