.....sort of. The U.S. has managed to convince our Swiss friends to disclose the private account information of more than 4,000 its American clients to the IRS, according to online news sources. The IRS has allegedly requested this information for 52,000 Americans, in an effort to collect due taxes from those who are serious about tax evasion.
One question I have is, how did the U.S. get the names of those 52,000 people in the first place? If the Swiss accounts were truly private, how did the names of the account holders get into the IRS' hands?
I may sound like I am against the IRS finding these tax evaders. (I realize it is probably not fair to assume that all 52,000 people are guilty of tax evasion, but, one has to wonder why they would bother setting up a Swiss bank account unless they really needed to hide something?) One person commented on the New York Times' website that this action by the U.S. is a "witch hunt," since there is no hard evidence that any of these people have committed a crime. What gives the U.S. the right to gain access to private financial information on a hunch? The person argued that this action is not any different than if the U.S. had successfully forced Google to disclose information about what types of websites you view in the privacy of your own home.
Does this action by our government represent yet another example of our freedoms lost, or is it just a step towards ensuring that everyone, including the uber-rich, pay their share of taxes?