The global crackdown on tax evasion linked to offshore banking continues unabated. A U.S. Senate committee has strongly criticised Switzerland’s banking secrecy laws during its investigation into Credit Suisse: according to Financial Times reports by Gina Chon.
The Senate committee believe that Credit Suisse had helped over 22,000 US citizens to evade taxes. The bank is apparently not denying that claim, but is currently claiming that it is not able to hand over their clients’ details because of Swiss laws on confidentiality. The current draft new US/Switzerland double tax agreement would allow Swiss banks to hand over details of clients involved in tax evasion. But at the moment the U.S. Senate is not ratifying the agreement.
Credit Suisse is one of 14 banks currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice in connection with allegations they helped US citizens defraud the tax authorities by using hidden offshore bank accounts. A further 106 other Swiss banks have applied for so-called “deferred prosecution agreements”; which would allow them to pay financial penalties instead of risking criminal prosecution.
The United Kingdom had already brokered arrangement with the Swiss banks in order to obtain details of UK citizens with accounts there, as part of the Swiss Tax Agreement.
What does this mean for me?
For UK residents who are not also American citizens, this issue probably has no immediate or direct impact. However, it is continuing evidence of the massive efforts being made by governments around the world, including in Great Britain, to crack down on tax evasion and offshore bank accounts. Generally speaking in this area the UK has followed America’s lead. For example, the US FATCA laws now apply to all UK Crown Dependencies; which now have to do pass over details of UK residents’ bank accounts to the British taxman. This has led to a number of tax amnesties, including the Jersey Disclosure Facility, Isle of Man Disclosure Facility and the Guernsey Disclosure Facility.
How can Lynam tax disclosure experts help me?
Lynam Tax Disclosure Specialists have a huge amount of experience in assisting clients with offshore bank accounts sort out their UK tax liabilities; on very favourable terms. For a wholly confidential and initially free discussion of these issues, please telephone:
Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997
Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710