Zurich Insurance DOJ Penalties – Swiss Insurer Caught Hiding Assets
It is safe to say that as a result of FATCA, renewed interest in FBAR, and the U.S. forming various International Tax and Reporting enforcement groups, that Switzerland’s ability to act as a safe offshore tax haven to hide U.S. client assets has long passed.
Zurich Insurance DOJ Penalties
In years past, Switzerland was a great place to hide assets.
In recent years, the U.S. Government has secured settlement agreements, deferred prosecution agreements, and criminal convictions against many involved with Switzerland foreign banks and financial institutions.
SwissZurich Insurance Penalized by DOJ for Hiding Client Assets
Add Zurich Life Insurance Co. Ltd. to the list.
As provided by Amy Lee Rosen at Law 360:
Zurich Life Insurance Co. Ltd. agreed Thursday to pay the U.S. a penalty of over $5.1 million to avoid prosecution over allegations it assisted U.S. taxpayer customers in evading taxes and reporting requirements through sales of minimal risk insurance policies.
For more than six years beginning in 2008, the company issued insurance policies to U.S. customers, who in turn used them to evade reporting requirements and taxes by not disclosing them to the Internal Revenue Service, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The undeclared insurance policies of those customers had a total value of about $102 million, the government said.
“The Tax Division remains steadfast in its goal of ending the use of offshore banking and insurance products when used to commit tax evasion,” Richard E. Zuckerman, principal deputy assistant attorney general, said in a statement. “This resolution with Zurich should serve as a strong message to those who use offshore bank accounts and insurance products to evade taxation that the Department of Justice is committed to stopping such fraud.”
Certain insurance policies can qualify for favorable tax treatment. But the government said the policies offered by Zurich Life and Zurich International Life Ltd., which are indirectly owned subsidiaries of Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. of Switzerland, did not meet the minimal requirements, so the increase of principal under those policies was subject to taxation. Zurich should have known it was helping its U.S. clients conceal their ownership of undeclared assets from the IRS, the U.S. said.
Generally, taxpayers are required to disclose policies on Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, known as FBAR, the DOJ said. “
What Does this Mean to You?
It means that forgetting that Zurich paid a large fine to the U.S. Government – your financial information may have been turned over to the U.S. Government as part of the settlement agreement.
Unfortunately, this puts you at risk.
Non-Compliance with U.S. Tax Law
Whether it is because you did not you had to report foreign accounts, thought you were below the threshold for filing, did not realize non-bank accounts were required to be reported, and/or have other unreported income, accounts, investments or assets – we can help.
Golding & Golding, A PLC
We have successfully represented clients in more than 1000 streamlined and voluntary disclosure submissions nationwide, and in over 70-different countries.
We are the “go-to” firm for other Attorneys, CPAs, Enrolled Agents, Accountants, and Financial Professionals across the globe.