One of our SMC members just received a package from HSBC giving him and his wife a deadline to comply with FATCA—US’ global tax law.
But suddenly they had just four weeks to prove that they were not US taxpayers, all because at one point they had purchased a service that gave them a US phone number.
And now they, as Canadian citizens and residents, have to submit a fully completed W8BEN IRS form, along with a government issued photo ID and a detailed letter of explanation to make it very clear that they were not in fact Americans.
It used to be that foreigners were vying to become US citizens, but today they’re begging not to be confused as one. Continue reading
While the White House has continually threatened further sanctions against Russia for non-de-escalation (even as it un-de-escalates itself), the specifics of the additional sanctions have been sparse. German CEO warnings over blowback from economic sanctions… the “nonsense” of replacing Russian gas with US gas… the Russian warnings of “interdependence” and “boomerangs”… all reduce the West’s arsenal of financial sanctions. But, as The Times of London reports, perhaps the US has found a crucial pain point for Putin – a sanctions regime that would target Putin’s personal wealth, which includes a reported $40 billion stashed in Swiss bank accounts. Continue reading
It has come to this: Swiss banks, under pressure from countries such as the United States, France and Germany, have been giving up their secrets, in some cases handing foreign tax authorities the names of their account holders. To avoid being blacklisted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Swiss government has agreed to share more information with foreign authorities hunting tax cheats.
The foreign assault has opened up a huge rift inside the fiercely independent Alpine nation.
Some bankers, as well as many academics and centrist and left-leaning politicians, think the country should bow to the inevitable and abandon strict secrecy. The pragmatists include big banks like UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, which argue that to survive they have no choice but to surrender more information about their customers and close the accounts of those who won’t come clean. Continue reading