If you're in a position where you owe the IRS a significant amount of money, you have probably heard news stories and documentaries about wealthy people who didn't pay millions of dollars in taxes and wondered how in the world the IRS did not crack down on them earlier. How were they able to evade taxes for so long? On some level, you knew that there were international men and women of intrigue (like any character played by Sean Connery or somebody like that), that could hide billions of dollars in assets on tropical islands, or in countries in Europe. You might have even heard that this was possible to do in Switzerland, for the right price. Well, what you heard was true, (at least about Switzerland).
For many years, it was possible to hide money from the IRS in a Swiss bank and evade taxes, not all Swiss banks, but some of them did participate in this. In fact, the US government is currently investigating 14 banks for these very crimes. However, this tax evasion haven for America's rich will be officially closing its doors in just a few days according to Anne Cesard, spokeswoman for the Swiss Federal Finance Department.
They Came to Get Their Taxes One Way or Another
In current tax news, according to an agreement between the US and Switzerland, Swiss Banks that are not currently being investigated by the US Justice Department will have to disclose all of their activity to the US Government to prove they are not helping US citizens evade taxes. If they cooperate, there will be no prosecution. However, if a bank is found to be helping a US citizen evade taxes, the bank will be required admit to any and all of these activities and pay penalties. For accounts found to be US tax evader accounts opened in 2008 or earlier, Swiss banks will have to pay 20% of the value of those accounts to the US Government.
In 2009, the two countries reached a deferred prosecution agreement, so accounts opened after that will receive higher penalty charges. Penalties can rise as high as 50% of the assets US tax evaders are storing in Swiss accounts.
With the Internet, smartphones and exciting new technology cropping up in every industry advancing our lives at record speeds, it's easy to miss the millions of ways this will affect cultural change. According to the US Justice Official that is the prime negotiator of this deal,"... the world is getting smaller and smaller and our information is getting better and better, and this would be one more tool among many that we have right now,"
If you live Riverside County, California and are facing tax evasion issues, you can contact us at (951) 695-1400. We can help!