Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More on the mystery of the Swiss bank account

At the Huffington Post, Zach Carter and Ryan Grimm quote the manager of a Romney blind trust as saying that  the infamous Swiss bank account was worth about $3 million and generated roughly $1,700 in interest.  (I presume this is an annual return.) 

Not much of a pretax return there, unless you happen to think that 0.023% sounds good.  Indeed, it's so low that even improperly excluding the interest income from U.S. tax (and thus perhaps needing to participate in the 2009 amnesty program) presumably would have been more of a careless oversight than anything calculated.

But this still leaves us with the question of why Romney had the account, given the outright silliness of the manager's claim that it was set up for "diversification" - which, as Carter and Grimm explain, "puzzles tax and investment experts, who note that all of the investment options available in Switzerland are available in American accounts."

Well, duh, it was obviously about the secrecy, though regarding what, and for what ends, remains unknown.

But given that this story is not just about taxes per se - it's about evaluating both Romney as an individual who wants to be our president, and the aspects of the existing tax and financial system that he has come to epitomize - I would certainly second the article's call for disclosure of the relevant Report on Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, or FBAR, that he must have filed.

... Although, I must admit that I am not holding my breath.

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