Opening a Swiss Bank Account in 2023 (What are the Benefits)

Opening a Swiss Bank Account in 2023 (What are the Benefits)

Opening a Swiss Bank Account

In years past, opening a Swiss Bank Account was one of the primary ways U.S. Taxpayers could move money ‘offshore’ to a safe location and avoid the prying eyes of the IRS. Then, came the U.S. and Switzerland bank programs in which several Swiss Banks entered into agreements with the U.S. government in order to divulge US taxpayer account information to the IRS. And, when the IRS published an international list of the ‘Bad Banks’ and ‘Facilitators’ – many of the institutions identified on the list were banks in Switzerland. Moreover, in 2014 the United States entered into FATCA Agreements (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) with many foreign countries – including Switzerland. Nevertheless, Switzerland is still a prosperous country with a solid banking system. Let’s look at why you may still want to open a Swiss Bank Account.

Good Banking System with Access

In general, the Switzerland economy is very good, and investing in Swiss assets can be very beneficial to US taxpayers. Many of the Foreign Financial Institutions in Switzerland that offer bank accounts also offer investment-type accounts which US taxpayers may find lucrative —  if they are seeking to invest in Swiss investments. Likewise, for Taxpayers who may be relocating or otherwise working in Switzerland, it will be necessary if not convenient to open an account and the banking system and structure is solid.

Still Hard to Locate the Money

Hiding money offshore and ‘moving’ money offshore are two different matters. Some Taxpayers (understandably) feel that by moving some of their money offshore they can provide indirect protection for their assets. While the United States has entered into a Tax Treaty and FATCA agreement with Switzerland — that still does not mean a creditor in the United States would have an easy time trying to head over to Switzerland in order to pursue litigation or otherwise levy the account. If the Taxpayer wants to become subject to a lawsuit, it would presumably be easier for the opposing party to seek a stay or Levy against a local bank account than it would be against a foreign account in Switzerland.

A Profitable Investment

Just because your Swiss Bank Account may not be a secret offshore account does not mean the account does not have benefits. For example, many of the investment accounts in Switzerland have a high yield. By opening a Swiss bank account or investment account, taxpayers don’t have the opportunity to invest in the Switzerland economy.

Can Still be ‘Somewhat’ Anonymous

While Taxpayers should be cautious to open up intentionally anonymous accounts or ‘numbered accounts’ — that does not mean taxpayers cannot still find some type of protection with a Swiss Bank Account. As long as the taxpayer is reporting the account for FBAR and FATCA, then there is nothing inherently wrong about opening up a foreign account — presuming it is not being done for fraudulent purposes such as to avoid already active creditors.

Current Year vs Prior Year Non-Compliance

Once a taxpayer missed the tax and reporting (such as FBAR and FATCA) requirements for prior years, they will want to be careful before submitting their information to the IRS in the current year. That is because they may risk making a quiet disclosure if they just begin filing forward in the current year and/or mass filing previous year forms without doing so under one of the approved IRS offshore submission procedures. Before filing prior untimely foreign reporting forms, taxpayers should consider speaking with a Board-Certified Tax Law Specialist that specializes exclusively in these types of offshore disclosure matters.

Avoid False Offshore Disclosure Submissions (Willful vs Non-Willful)

In recent years, the IRS has increased the level of scrutiny for certain streamlined procedure submissions. When a person is non-willful, they have an excellent chance of making a successful submission to Streamlined Procedures. If they are willful, they would submit to the IRS Voluntary Disclosure Program instead. But, if a willful taxpayer submits an intentionally false narrative under the Streamlined Procedures (and gets caught), they may become subject to significant fines and penalties.

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Golding & Golding specializes exclusively in international tax, specifically IRS offshore disclosure.

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