No More Secrets at Swiss Banks

Foreign AssetsMany think that Swiss banks will keep your secrets as they are well-known for their secrecy. Not anymore. The Swiss government is going to propose a bill that will end this. Also, Swiss banks will automatically exchange with some foreign tax officials key financial data of certain accounts. Here is the summary:

Switzerland unveiled draft legislation that would lift the country’s decades-long veil of bank secrecy.

Switzerland’s tradition of bank secrecy has been taking increasing hits as cash-strapped nations around the globe try to crack down on tax evasion. Over the past two years, Bern has signed on to an international convention setting the framework for countries to help each other with tax information requests and an international agreement on the automatic exchange of information.

Consultations begin

Now the Swiss government has launched a three-month consultation on the two proposed bills that would let the country fulfill those agreements. Currently, Switzerland shares information about foreigners holding offshore accounts in the nation only if it receives a request from a foreign tax authority.

If the proposed legislation becomes law, Switzerland will “spontaneously” inform foreign tax authorities if it comes across information that could be of interest to them — such as property ownership.

It also will automatically exchange with some foreign tax officials such information as foreign account holders’ names and bank balances, as well as interest and dividend income data. Switzerland has not yet identified the countries with which it will share this information.

Koh Fujimoto

Koh is the Principal-in-Charge of the International Practice. He concentrates his practice in the areas of financial statement audits, transfer pricing and internal audit services.
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