Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Swiss Legislature Further Erodes Swiss Secrecy by Permitting Secret Disclosure to Tax Authorities (3/19/14)

In an excellent short article, Kevin Packman, here, reports that the Swiss have further eroded a component of the fast expiring concept of Swiss bank secrecy.  As Swiss Banking Becomes More Transparent, Americans With Undeclared Swiss Accounts Are Warned (Mondaq 3/18/14), here.
In a move that was likely celebrated by United States governmental officials, Swiss banking secrecy eroded even further on Thursday, March 6, 2014. This is the day that parliament voted to provide foreign tax authorities with identifying information on accountholders with undeclared accounts in Swiss banks without giving the accountholder advance notice.  The one requirement is that the requesting country must demonstrate that by providing notice to the accountholder, the investigation would be hindered.
Kevin's reference is to:  Parliament relaxes terms for tax data exchange (swissinfo 3/6/14), here, which says in part:
Parliament has approved a legal amendment that tax evaders will not always have to be told if Switzerland sends information about them to other countries. The move further loosens Swiss banking secrecy laws in order to avoid a global backlash. 
* * * * 
The Senate on Thursday confirmed an earlier decision by the House of Representatives that people suspected of tax evasion whose information is being sent to another country do not have to be informed of this if the other country can prove that telling them would hinder the investigation. 
 The argument over the reform brought up questions about whether such a move goes against clauses in the Swiss constitution related to guarantees of transparency in legal processes. In the end, the majority in parliament concluded that passing the amendment was in Switzerland’s best interest to meet the OECD’s demands and avoid possible sanctions.

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