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2018 Looking Better for Geneva Banks

Offshore Account Update

Posted in on October 27, 2017

Swiss banks have not fared well since the crackdown on financial institutions that allegedly helped to facilitate tax evasion. The crackdown occurred after the great recession, ensnaring many respected financial institutions and causing serious problems for offshore investors who found themselves under investigation or reaching out to a Boston international tax attorney to explore options for voluntary disclosure.

Although banks in Geneva, Switzerland have been hit hard by allegations of tax evasion, there are signs that things are turning around for these financial institutions. As Reuters reports, for example, Geneva-based banks are much more likely to express a belief that 2018 will be a good year compared with in 2017. 

Swiss Banks are Expecting a Positive 2018

Swiss banks began experiencing serious fallout from the great recession when a global crackdown on tax evaders led to accusations that respected Swiss financial institutions had helped to facilitate tax evasion. Many banks entered into agreements with U.S. officials in which they admitted to facilitating tax evasion, paid large fines, and turned over information on accountholders so they could avoid criminal prosecution.  The reputation of the Swiss banking industry was hurt by this, and many banks ended up closing their doors.

Today, there are 104 banks left in Geneva, which is a 25 percent reduction compared with the number of banks before the great recession and the fallout from tax evasion scandals. To be able to survive and remain competitive in the global economy, the remaining Swiss banks pushed for regulatory reforms which are expected to take effect in 2019.

Big banks remaining in Geneva, however, have indicated that 2018 is likely to be a good year for most. In fact, 45 percent of big banks said they expected 2018 to be good when they were asked about the outlook for the upcoming year. The remainder of the major financial institutions were split between expecting 2018 would be a difficult year or projecting that 2018 would be a stable year.

This is a marked change from last year, when just eight percent expressed positive feelings about the outlook of the upcoming year and 42 percent saying they expected 2017 to be difficult. Most big banks had overestimated how bad 2017 would be for them, and 46 percent of the large financial institutions responding to the survey indicated that 2017 ended up being a good year and nine percent called the year a very good one.

While banks may be feeling positive, however, this does not necessarily mean that the trouble facing offshore investors with Swiss bank accounts is over.  U.S. authorities still have extensive information about offshore dealings by U.S. affiliated accountholders. They could use this information to go after investors who had put money offshore without complying with rules, including investors who failed to follow the requirements of the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Account. 

A Boston international tax attorney can provide representation to anyone who is still under investigation by the U.S. or who suspects that they may come under investigation in the future. Contact attorney Kevin Thorn today to find out more about your options under the law.


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