Switzerland Will Reinhardt Quick Facts, Yo Population: 7.8 mil (about 2.5% of the US pop.)* GDP (PPP): $314.879 billion (2.2% of US GDP)* Currency: Swiss Franc Unemployment: 4.4% Drive: On the right, like normal people. *Current as of 2009. Economy*
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Population: 7.8 mil (about 2.5% of the US pop.)*
GDP (PPP): $314.879 billion (2.2% of US GDP)*
Currency: Swiss Franc
Drive: On the right, like normal people.
*Current as of 2009.
Switzerland's economy benefits from a highly developed service sector, led by financial services, and a manufacturing industry that specializes in high-technology, knowledge-based production.
GDP Per Capita: $41,700 (PPP)
Exports: machinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products
Imports: machinery, chemicals, vehicles, metals; agricultural products, textiles
*Current as of 2009.
UBS: Union Bank of Switz., the country’s largest bank, is one of the biggest financial institutions in the world. It was also one of the European banks hit hardest in the subprime market crisis in 2008, posting a record loss of $17 billion, and received government help to cope with its illiquid assets. In the past two years, UBS also battled unsuccessfully with the United States government over the bank’s secret offshore accounts.
Swiss bank accounts cannot be opened without the holder signing a legal document asserting that they have no outstanding financial obligations to the IRS. Despite this, Swiss banks have been criticized for improperly shielding individuals practicing tax evasion.
Because only tax fraud (actively lying to authorities) is a crime in Switzerland, while tax evasion (passively neglecting to report income) is not, it is believed that many tax evaders have been able to take advantage of the Swiss privacy provisions.
UBS finalized a deal in August 2009 with the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service to disclose names and account details for more than 4,450 wealthy Americans suspected of tax evasion.
The landmark settlement peeled back layers of Swiss banking secrecy, and offered a road map for the authorities as they try to crack down on tax evasion by Americans who, through private banks and other Swiss-based financial intermediaries, use offshore accounts that go undeclared to the I.R.S.
Senate recently passed a bill which requires foreign banks to cooperate with U.S. tax authorities on fighting tax evasion. Senate aims to create jobs, and to give U.S. authorities more tools to track down alleged tax dodgers who hide cash overseas.
The bill requires foreign banks and investment funds to report information on their U.S. customers to the Internal Revenue Service or face steep tax withholding on all proceeds from U.S. investments made by their clients or for their own accounts.