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Rise of Tax Evasion

hAccording to NBC News, three Swiss bankers have been accused of helping Americans hide more than $420 million from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. These bankers have since been indicted. Stephan Fellmann, Otto Huppi and Christof Reist are the alleged suspects who all worked for an unnamed Swiss bank as financial advisers. Police say no arrests have been made.

The Guardian reports, “Banking secrecy is enshrined in Swiss law and tradition, but it has recently come under pressure as the United States and other nations have moved aggressively to tighten tax law enforcement and have demanded more openness and cooperation.”

In April, two other Swiss financial advisers were indicted in the U.S. for conspiring to help Americans hide $267 million in Swiss bank accounts. In January three more were charged with conspiracy as they helped multiple wealthy Americans hide upwards of $1.2 billion in taxable assets.

This type of tax evasion is not surprising, especially at the hands of the neutral Swiss. According to Bloomberg, “UBS AG (UBSN), the largest Swiss bank, avoided prosecution by paying $780 million, admitting it helped Americans cheat on taxes and turning over data on secret accounts.”

The United States is cracking down on off shore tax evasion. More than twenty-four bankers, lawyers, and advisers and about fifty U.S. taxpayers have been charged since 2008. It is unclear whether these tax evasion schemes will continue to rise and if the cause for seeking tax free avenues is because of the current administrations view of tax policy. It is clear, tax evasion is becoming prevalent among wealthier Americans.

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