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Switzerland letting the side down in the global fight against evasion

September 14, 2016

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In a slight change of direction last week, reports revealed that Switzerland had charged a former member of staff from one of its biggest banks, UBS, for selling the files of wealthy clients suspected of tax evasion to German authorities.

The individual at the centre of this case is accused of violating banking secrets and involvement in espionage and money laundering. Reports claim that the banker sold information to the state of North Rhine-Westphalia that would have allowed authorities to identify the accounts of 772 foundations and 550 private individuals.

This latest development comes at a time when there are daily media stories surrounding the latest clampdown on tax evaders, including the likes of Apple which continues the fight against the European Commission’s ruling on its Irish tax payments.

While the Swiss government looks to be taking the side of tax evaders in this particular case, it stands alone and is going against the current trend of governments across Europe clamping down on evasion. Indeed, the past few years have seen incredible progress on addressing tax evasion with a number of countries signing up to the Common Reporting Standard for the benefit of all involved. The German authorities, for example, have recovered over €2.1bn from buying information concerning those allegedly trying to evade taxes in recent years. It seems almost baffling, then, that Switzerland hasn’t opted for a similar approach.

So while in this case the Swiss are slightly letting the side down, it’s not a sign that anyone can breathe easy and be less stringent in their tax affairs. No matter where you are in the world, you must ensure you stay on the right side of local tax laws or risk potentially hefty fines. Speak to the team today to find out how we can help you:

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