Sunday, December 6, 2009

UBS Scandal

By Laura Reginelli

Switzerland is renowned for the interesting, to say the least, banking principals. For years people have been placing money in Swiss accounts and failing to report their generated income from them due to the Swiss’s strict secrecy agreements. Recently however, the United States has been cracking down on these occurrences and they are beginning to demand the name of individuals using these accounts as a form of tax evasion.

In February of this year, UBS was ordered to pay $780 million due to tax evasion. For years wealthy Americans have been stashing their money in UBS accounts in order to avoid paying taxes because Switzerland has unusually secret laws when it comes to bank accounts. On top of the huge fine that UBS incurred, they also have to start turning in the names of individuals who were participating in these sorts of accounts.

According to “American nationals are allowed to open offshore accounts, provided they reveal them and pay taxes on their assets. UBS announced in July 2008 that it would stop offering to American clients offshore private banking services that are not declared to the I.R.S. a program known also as Qualified Intermediary.” The United States suspects that over 30,000 people have used these accounts to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

Recently in October, the government ordered the first individual involved in this scandal to pay his back taxes that he avoided. Steven Michael Rubinstein was fined $40,000.


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