by Brian Mahany
Switzerland has amended its financial disclosure laws to permit increased exchange of financial information with non-Swiss authorities. The latest move is limited to investigations related to the financing of terrorism and money laundering.
While Americans and others with unreported foreign accounts may be breathing a sigh of relief, the U.S. government frequently adds one or more money laundering counts when charging people with tax evasion or conspiracy to defraud the U.S.
Swiss legislators reportedly amended the law after Switzerland was threatened with expulsion from a coalition of governments formed to address global terrorism and financial crimes. The Swiss have also been under pressure from the U.S., the G-20 group of nations to repeal their strict bank secrecy laws.
The latest move shows a trend by the Swiss to permit greater access to account holder information. Although certainly not happy with the loss of strict bank secrecy, some Swiss banks have even welcomed the news given the recent wave of criminal indictments and fines levied by the U.S. government.
The final chapter of this story has not yet been written but the trend continues to greater financial disclosure. It’s getting harder and harder to hide one’s money from Uncle Sam.
The trend is not limited to Switzerland. In recent years the OECD and G-20 nations have mounted a coordinated attack against all the bank secrecy havens. Whether you hide money in Switzerland or India, the chances of getting caught increase daily.
Obviously, there are many good reasons to place money in Swiss or foreign banks. Some believe the banking system in Switzerland is much more financially secure than in the U.S. For the time, it is completely legal to move money offshore, as long as you tell the IRS and continue to pay taxes.
The tax lawyers at Mahany & Ertl assist taxpayers across the U.S and across the world with a wide variety of foreign tax reporting and criminal tax matters – FATCA, FBAR’s, voluntary disclosures, the offshore voluntary disclosure program and criminal tax evasion investigations, we can help. For more information contact attorney Brian Mahany at (414) 704-6731 (direct) or by email at All inquiries are kept in strict confidence and are protected by the attorney client privilege.
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Tax Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Detroit, Portland, San Francisco & Minneapolis