Many foreign financial institutions have made the decision to cooperate with the government of the United States in the government's tax-evasion investigations. Foreign banks have participated in a Swiss Bank Program, which allows them to come forward to disclose the ways in which they facilitated tax evasion.
When these banks pay a fine and offer the U.S. government information on accountholders, the banks can avoid criminal prosecution. Financial institutions have also entered into similar deals with the U.S. outside of this formal amnesty program, protecting themselves from harsh penalties by turning over the information the IRS and Department of Justice need to investigate individual taxpayers.
A New Jersey criminal tax lawyer should be consulted by any offshore accountholder who has undeclared foreign accounts and/or who has not fully complied with all requirements for U.S. signatories or foreign account owners, including requirements to file an annual Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Account.
As more and more financial institutions work with the government, the chances you will come under investigation are increasing so it is important to be proactive in taking steps to solve your tax problems before the IRS begins looking into your accounts. Just recently, for example, Swiss Life Holding AG has entered into discussions with the Department of Justice, which means it is likely to also disclose accountholder details and make its accountholders vulnerable to an investigation.
Swiss Life Holding AG Is Cooperating with the U.S. Government
Swiss Life Holding AG has a portfolio of U.S. clients which is worth approximately 250 million francs, which is close to $258 million in value. This is down from a portfolio it used to hold of around 1 billion francs, but it is still a substantial amount of money – and it still means there are many accountholders who have valuable investments under the control of Swiss Life Holding AG.
Swiss Life Holding AG is now explaining its cross-border business to the Department of Justice and is likely to enter into an agreement with the DOJ to limit the penalties it could face for its role in helping offshore investors avoid tax obligations. The U.S. government is going beyond just learning about accounts under the control of Swiss Life Holdings and is also investing insurance wrappers used to help lower tax rates.
Swiss Life Holdings is expected to come to an agreement with the DOJ in which the foreign financial institution agrees to pay a penalty of around 100 million francs. As part of its agreement, it will also likely have to give the DOJ specific and extensive details about investments made by U.S. affiliated accountholders as many prior institutions have done, including UBS Group AG.
Swiss Life Holdings joins a long list of institutions that have helped U.S. authorities to obtain information needed to pursue investigations against suspected tax evaders. Anyone with offshore investments that are under the control of Swiss Life Holdings or that were under their control in the past should consult with New Jersey criminal tax lawyer Kevin Thorn for help as soon as possible.