This new law comes from Switzerland's Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, which is simply requiring Swiss banks to obtain declarations from their overseas clients to ensure all funds and income into the bank account in Switzerland is being taxed correctly.
The new protocol for your bank account in Switzerland
In response to the new legal requirements regarding taxing of foreign income, there are a few new protocols and processes that banks in Switzerland will have to begin undertaking. The simplest and least invasive new addition to Swiss banking protocol is obtaining a self-declaration from bank clients to state that all finances are legal and that banks have the right to investigate.
There are however new requirements of banks, such as thoroughly investigating any signs of tax evasion, which commonly consists of cash payments from unknown sources as well as undeclared income. Uncovering these issues, however, is fairly new, so Swiss banks will not have a single process to follow. Each case will be treated differently.
For new holders of bank accounts in Switzerland this may seem invasive and undercutting the secrecy and privacy that Swiss banks were once known for, but there is simply no way around the new regulations.
If you need some assistance with making sure you adhere to all of these new rules and regulations, don't hesitate to reach out to us.
The future of your bank account in Switzerland
If you require your secrecy and security above all else, then the only other way to turn is to one of the Asian leaders like Hong Kong. The sheer size of Hong Kong's financial holdings, as well as low tax and zero exchange control, make it your only other option. Keep in mind though, the United States won't be able to have much sway in Hong Kong, so there could be issues presented.
Those who work alongside lawyers or legal teams when banking in Switzerland should know that due to intermediary laws, a Swiss lawyer or financial advisor is unable to suggest a move from Switzerland and a bank account in Switzerland without running the risk of being sanctioned. With this in mind, it might be best to speak with a new legal team, one that isn't connected to your original lawyer.
However, if you don't want to move from Switzerland and would rather continue sticking with the global leading in the financial space, then you should speak with a lawyer or financial advisor about any issues you may have. Our team is able to assist in this and provide you with plenty of information to make sure that you are doing everything legally and by the book.
Any information requests or assistance with your bank account in Switzerland can be answered by one of the Goldblum and Partners team, so don't hesitate to contact us.