News & Politics

Swiss Banks No Longer Hip Cash-Stash Spot for Sketchy, Moneyed Americans

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Hot Chocolate. Knives with corkscrews on them. Decent skiing. The Swiss have a lot going for them, still. They’re gonna have to hustle hard on Americans to spend their scrilla there, now that they can’t hide it as well, anymore.

The New York Times points out a bill Obama signed on March 18th, making it far more difficult than it was before to hide money with Swiss banks, or at least, to hide them from U.S. tax laws. The bill states that banks and other financial institutions from anywhere outside of America face a 30 percent tax penalty on their U.S. investments as an institution if they refuse to tell our government which sketchy Americans decided to hide what money where. Apparently, $1 trillion a year gets stashed away, and $70B in taxes gets walked around by the people smart, rich, and sketchy enough to have done so in the past.

Even more, there’s a provision in the bill that prevents transactions where investors who previously received non-taxed dividends from investments as something other than cash — like the equivalent of a dividend, a derivative, which could be anything from options to futures to swaps, et al. — are now getting taxed for their “dividend equivalents.” Meaning that the people who make money, and then make money out of that money, are now going to get taxed for the money they make out of the money that was made from money. And they weren’t, before. Which is good for the majority of Americans, who only get taxed on the money we make and the things we buy, because it levels out the tax burden a little bit in a time when our country’s in a ridiculous amount of debt. That said, the Swiss are probably pretty pissed off, because this kind of thing is bound to hurt business, but what’re they gonna do? Open our wine? Ha, Swiss people.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]

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