04 June 2013

Swiss lawyers brace for US tax investigations

Financial lawyers in Switzerland are sweating over a cabinet proposal which may release their names - along with tax advisors and asset managers - to US tax evasion authorities.

By James Barnes

Switzerland: tax proposal could hurt lawyers

Swiss Info reports that parliament will vote during its current session on whether to accept or block the proposals which could see banks hand over confidential data detailing business with US clients.

Criminal prosecution

According to the report, Swiss banks are in favour of the proposal – despite the potential for major fines – as they would dodge both Swiss banking secrecy laws and criminal prosecution in the US. However, lawyers and other financial advisors linked to the dealings would not be given the same immunity from US prosecution.

Tax haven

The Chamber of Swiss Tax Advisors immediately opposed the deal which they described as ‘rushed’ to meet US impatience.
Washington-based tax lawyer Scott Michel, of Caplin & Drysdale, told the website that lawyers in tax haven jurisdictions have marketed their services ‘to help clients set up trusts or other structures to provide additional layers of confidentiality’ but will now find themselves ‘vulnerable’ to tax authorities.

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