As highlighted yesterday on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and other newspapers across the country- – Credit Suisse has pled guilty to conspiracy to aid tax evasion (by helping U.S. citizens unlawfully evade taxes through Swiss bank accounts). The large bank agreed to pay about $2.6 billion in penalties.
U.S. regulators have spared the bank from losing its U.S. investment adviser license and other potentially harsh results. So other than the monetary penalties, the negative impact on the bank may be limited. In any event, this is another significant reminder that attempts by U.S. citizens to evade taxes through offshore accounts (and the institutions that help facilitate that tax evasion) are under close scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal regulators.
All of this unfortunately means that U.S. citizens who legally and properly take advantage of foreign bank accounts will likely have even more paperwork and regulatory hoops to jump through when they open offshore accounts.