The End of Bank Secrecy?

Jeevan Vasagar and Vanessa Houlder report in the FT about the pledge by 51 countries to facilitate the collection and exchange of information on bank accounts and the beneficial ownership of companies and other legal structures. The agreement was drawn up by the OECD and previously endorsed by the G20. Going forward, the countries involved seek a consensus on the treatment of intellectual property income.

Christoph Eisenring in the NZZ and the FAZ provide additional information. Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands signed the accord; Switzerland and Singapore promised to follow soon; Panama and the US didn’t. German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble declared the end of bank secrecy. While not signing the agreement the US is credited for helping to make it possible, due to the FATCA treaties is has signed with many countries. Those treaties also stipulate an automatic exchange of tax information. However, so far the US has not produced the legal base to provide such information to foreign governments.