On December 30, Swiss Bank Julius Baer set aside $547 million as part of its settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice for its role in assisting clients evade United States taxes; These sorts of settlements between the U.S. Department of Justice and large Swiss banks have started to become common place with UBS settling for $780 million in 2009 and Credit Suisse paying $2.6 billion in 2014 for their roles operating illegal cross-border banking businesses. This news comes on the heels of ongoing efforts between the United States and Switzerland to identify non-compliant filers of U.S. taxes. Switzerland has also agreed to comply with the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act in an effort to inform U.S. tax authorities to non-compliant filers.
The ongoing deterioration of Switzerland’s bank secrecy laws comes as no surprise. In October 2013, Switzerland joined 60 other countries in signing the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance on Tax Matters, an international agreement to share financial information with dozens of other countries; This agreement helps countries with collection of taxes from one another and puts into place a system of automatic information exchange.