Swiss Proposals Maintain Tax Compliance and Secrecy

In another chapter of Swiss Banks versus the IRS, strong pressure from both U.S. and European governments, have forced Swiss lawmakers to take a stand. Yesterday, Switzerland announced it outlined proposals for how it aims to do the following:

  • improve its reputation as a private global banking center.
  • comply with the exchange of tax information that includes requiring all offshore account holders to declare their taxable assets.

A Wall Street Journal article titled Switzerland Sets Tax, Secrecy Revamp reports that these proposals mark a willingness by the Swiss to negotiate with foreign governments. It also shows the Swiss government, on their terms, complying with new tax regulations and data sharing for foreign account holders, while also protecting their secretive banking laws.

According to Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, “we are trying to formulate a set of credible, concrete proposals to improve our financial-center efficiency, and achieve a better balance between private bank privacy and tax compliance.”

The Swiss Government proposals focus on the following measures:

  • More enhanced due diligence requirements for banks when accepting assets.
  • Requirements for foreign clients to declaration funds that fulfill their tax obligations.
  • Implementation of a withholding tax on assets held in Swiss financial institutions.
  • Improved cooperation with foreign tax authorities.
  • An emphasis on settling tax problems in offshore client cases as it places too much legal risk on the banks.

The Swiss finance ministry intends these proposals to be finalized in September. Deemed the “clean money strategy”, the proposals appear to be a mix of internal Swiss political pressures as a pre-condition to get backing for double taxation with the ongoing Swiss-U.S. negotiations over the  “double-tax agreement.

Not everyone thinks these provisions will be effective. A Swiss non-governmental organization, The Bern Declaration, or EvB, called the government’s proposals “counterproductive” and a “wishy-washy strategy.” The EvB believes the Swiss Government is obstructing the exchange of tax regulation something the U.S. and other EU countries have worked hard to regulate in recent weeks. EvB also believes these provisions won’t help to create future rules on “cross border banking business.”

As the U.S. Government crackdown on Swiss banks demonstrates, no one is safe from the wrath of the IRS mainly because the government loses billions in tax revenues from non-reported offshore accounts. If you believe you have unreported assets, being proactive about disclosing your foreign funds immediately will work in your favor. But have experts on your side to advise you like a tax attorney or tax resolution specialist to proceed in your best interest and help negotiate an offshore tax settlement.

More Tax Help, IRS News and Tax Relief Tips:

  1. Offshore Tax Evaders Get Preferred IRS Help
  2. Doctor Sentenced for Failing to File FBAR Reports
  3. Swiss Pressured to Reveal All Offshore Accounts
  4. Treasury Proposes Multilateral Agreement for Offshore Compliance
  5. Swiss Bank Wegelin Avoids Court Appearance

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One Response to “Swiss Proposals Maintain Tax Compliance and Secrecy”

  1. Rand Paul Challenges U.S. and Swiss Banking Treaty Says:

    [...] agree to a solution that ends negotiations on the investigation of Swiss banks. In a recent blog post, I highlighted the Swiss banker’s request to protect their most prized asset: Swiss banking [...]

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