Opening Swiss Bank account

Jul 10, 2018 22 Comments

My friend is a European Citizen and US green card holder. She now plans to stay in US Permanently and plans to sell her house in Germany. The total profit is about $1.5 Million (converted to USD) based on the the current market rate.

To save on taxes she is thinking of opening a Swiss bank account and dumping the money there. She had the following questions:
1. Does the US government also has ability to track the bank information for US green card holders who have accounts in Switzerland? I know that they can do it for US citizens but not sure about green card holders.
2. I read online and the major banks were Credit Suisse and UBS. Do we have to go to Switzerland and open the accounts or they can be opened remotely?
3. How can we access the money in US safely? I read that if you use regular debit/credit cards then you will get tracked easily.
4. Can you invest the money in like S&P 500 by also opening a brokerage account?

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TOP 22 Comments
  • GE BAua50
    Talk to a tax attorney. Not sure why you would get taxed on overseas profits if you are already taxed in that country.
    Jul 10, 2018 6
    • OP
      If suppose you are taxed at 20% in overseas country and US tax rate is 33%, then you might have to pay the difference if you are a US resident.
      Jul 10, 2018
    • GE BAua50
      I think that’s for citizens not residents....again talk to an attorney. Not worth it to save like $30k in taxes to be looking over your shoulder the rest of your life. After late fees and interest thing thing can easily balloon to $100k+ in penalties when the IRS finds out in 5 years.
      Jul 10, 2018
    • Nielsen / Eng pm_me_tc
      Not to mention they will find out. The IRS is relentless.
      Jul 10, 2018
    • As a GC holder she is considered a US tax resident. From a taxation point of view it’s the same as being a US citizen
      Jul 10, 2018
    • Daimler ForkBomb
      Yep, I can confirm that. GC is the same as citizen when it comes to taxes. Don't forget about FBAR filing requirements especially with large accounts. IRS will find out and you'll not only pay huge fines but also endanger naturalization. If GC then expires, bye bye👋
      Just pay whatever taxes you owe as defined by the tax treaty and always declare all your worth.
      Jul 10, 2018
  • Microsoft / Eng FwwQ08
    Swiss secrecy is a thing of the past, and I'm pretty sure 1.5m is too small to justify more-exotic schemes. Talk to a tax attorney.
    Jul 10, 2018 0
  • Microsoft / Eng Tier 1
    Get a instant issue debit card with the name “customer” on it. Not so easy to be tracked.
    Jul 10, 2018 1
  • The Swiss bank would be required to report your friend’s holdings to the US govt under FATCA. That’s assuming that your friend didn’t hide the fact that she’s a US PR.

    And your friend would be required to file a FATCA form 8938 as well as an FBAR. The penalties for failing to do so are very serious
    Jul 10, 2018 3
    • OP
      Just for information purposes, does Swiss Bank report for
      #1 US Citizen
      #2 US Green Card Holders
      #3 US residents on visa

      All the 3 or only for #1 and #2? If it’s also for #3, than we can probably create an account under the parents name as they don’t reside in US.
      Jul 10, 2018
    • #1: definitely
      #2: yes, if they know that she is a US GC holder
      #3: same as #2 (I think)
      Jul 10, 2018
    • In regards to opening the account in her parents’ name, how would she get the funds into her parents’ account without having it go into her account first? Is the house sale going to be an all-cash deal? Anyways, I think your friend should first figure out how much US tax she would owe before going to the trouble of coming up with some elaborate scheme with significant risks.
      Jul 10, 2018
  • Union Bank Fffv
    Pay the 20 percent and grow ur money in us
    Jul 10, 2018 2
    • OP
      No point paying 20% tax which will be used for Trumps golf trips to Florida !
      Jul 10, 2018
    • Union Bank Fffv
      You have no control over such things. Having peaceful life is more important than doing such shit
      Jul 10, 2018
  • Microsoft / Eng Tier 1
    Another Protip:

    - Withdraw the money in Canada. Taking weekend trips to Vancouver is no big deal. Perhaps $5000 at a time. No more than 10,000 USD or 10,000 CAD whichever is lower at the time.

    - physically travel with the cash across the border

    - excess cash can be stored in a safe deposit box at a bank in the US

    Protip 3:

    - storing physical cash in deflationary currencies , such as Swiss Francs/Swedish Krona, can negate some of the downside of holding cash rather than investing.
    Jul 10, 2018 0
  • Microsoft beermaster
    Best approach is to see if you can deposit the money in Switzerland or any EU country in your parents / sibling / friend's name. From there, draw the money in small chunks
    Jul 10, 2018 0
  • Union Bank Fffv
    It will effectively be the same .. don’t do shit and have no access to your money ..
    Jul 10, 2018 0
  • Union Bank Fffv
    Talk to ur cpa and a tax attorney but long term capital gain is 20 percent
    Jul 10, 2018 0
  • There should be a tax treaty between the EU and US to prevent double taxation. Also, I doubt that the US tax owed would be much higher than the EU tax. In addition, if this was your friend’s primary residence she should be able to claim the exemption on her US tax return
    Jul 10, 2018 0