Tax Shelters And The Global Government Crackdown

Bloomberg has a story today on the numbers of Americans who decided to reveal their offshore accounts to our comrades at the IRS…

More than 14,700 Americans voluntarily disclosed secret offshore bank accounts to the Internal Revenue Service during a partial amnesty program that ended Oct. 15, Commissioner Doug Shulman said.  “We were flooded with people coming in during the final days of the program,” Shulman told reporters on a conference call in Washington today as the U.S. and Swiss governments released a list of criteria used by Switzerland to screen American clients of UBS AG bank for tax fraud.  Americans with undeclared offshore accounts have been under growing pressure since Switzerland agreed Aug. 19 to hand over data to the U.S. on as many as 4,450 UBS accounts to settle a lawsuit in which the U.S. had sought as many as 52,000 accounts…

While Switzerland may have lost their courage and then their status as the world’s bankers, I had originally held high hopes for the continuing holdout of Liechtenstein.  But it looks like this is not to be.  Here is a press release from Hoyt Barber, a well-known tax haven specialist and author of several books on the subject…

European banking centers, in particular, find themselves today under extreme pressure from outside forces like the United States, the United Nations, the European Union, the G20, the OECD, Germany and France.  European banking centers such as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Andorra, Monaco and Belgium have either agreed in principle to compromise their bank secrecy laws this year or are attempting to postpone what appears to be the inevitable, which will likely come in 2010.  In the meantime, many banks in these “target” countries are refusing to do business with new and existing clients, asking them to take their business elsewhere, particularly zeroing in on taxpayers from the United States and Canada.

Fortunately though, Americans still do have some options for sheltering our assets, and according to Barber, these would include Belize, Panama, Cook Islands, Nevis and Uruguay.

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