New study by WSU accounting professors addresses U.S. intervention in offshore bank accounts

Three Wayne State University School of Business accounting professors have joined forces to address how the Obama Administration is dealing with tax evasion and Switzerland banks.

Tony Billings, professor of accounting, Bill Volz, professor of accounting, and Tina Walsh, senior lecturer of accounting, had their study, titled "Tax Evasion through Offshore Bank Deposits in Swiss Banks: A High Priority for the Obama Administration," accepted for publication in the CPA Journal. A full abstract of the article is below.

The journal is a resource for practitioners, educators, regulators and other financial professionals. The goal of the journal is to provide "readers with insight and analysis on developments in the areas of accounting, auditing, taxation, finance, management, technology and professional ethics." The article highlights the recent success of the U.S. government in addressing the problem of tax evasion through offshore bank deposits by way of its negotiation with the Swiss government.

Title

Tax Evasion through Offshore Bank Deposits in Swiss Banks: A High Priority for the Obama Administration

Abstract

Tax evasion by Americans through offshore bank deposits in Switzerland has been on the radar of the U.S. Department of Justice for some time now. An important milestone occurred in 2009 when Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) paid $780 million in fines to the Department of Justice after being convicted of helping wealthy Americans evade U.S. taxes. Consistent with its obligations under a bilateral agreement with the United States, the Swiss government recently proposed banking legislation that would have substantially expanded the data available to U.S. government investigations. When the Swiss parliament roundly rejected the legislation, the Swiss government pressed forward through administrative action and imposed new rules on Swiss banks. The effect of the new administrative provisions can be seen in the recent indictment and prompt settlement with one of the main culprits in the tax evasion problem. Credit Suisse AG, a large Swiss bank, was indicted by the Department of Justice and, to avoid much harsher penalties, settled for $2.6 billion.