Swiss banks give up names, information Recently, there has been much publicity that the U.S. government has worked out an agreement with a Swiss bank, UBS, wherein the bank will provide taxpayer identification and investment information to the Internal Revenue Service. We all know the old saying, “Never say never.” The saying definitely applies to this situation. Since the 1800s, the Swiss banks have steadfastly refused to provide any bank account information to any outside authority. They would never give up the names of their investors, let alone provide actual investment account figures. The Swiss even told Adolph Hitler to go jump in a lake. The Swiss banks have steadfastly relied upon Swiss law to not comply with any and all foreign government requests for investor information. Under Swiss law, tax fraud or actively misleading authorities is a crime. However, under their system, passive tax evasion or just failing to declare an asset is not a crime. If the foreign authority could prove the investor was involved in tax fraud or actively misleading authorities, they got their information. I have the feeling they didn’t have to provide much information. In 2002, the European Union began asking for information for investors who were not defined as criminals under Swiss law, and it was successful in some of its requests. Evidently, the Swiss did not and do not want to be known as an “uncooperative tax haven.” They have made quite a reputation as a tax haven but not an uncooperative one. Using the same logic as the European Union, the IRS sued UBS, asked for names, and also was successful. UBS agreed to pay $780 million in penalties and offered to turn over information on 250 U.S. investors. The IRS took the $780 million but sued for information on 52,000 investors. That figure was negotiated down to 4,450 names, presumably the top dogs. The IRS is giving those 4,450 U.S. citizens the chance to fess up on their own by filing missing tax returns or amending tax returns to include missing income. They are offering a type of limited amnesty for those who step forward. The penalties will be much less severe. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. First, it’s not clear […]
September 3 2009
Community effort Andrew Kersting is still rounding up recruits and working to keep the Rogue River clean. This year the crew actually saw a smaller amount of trash in the river south of the dam in downtown Rockford. Kersting asks for help each year and is gratified to see how many people will volunteer their time and jump right in (literally) for their community. Kersting said BC Pizza is always generous and donates a pizza party for the crew after the clean up. D&W provides drinking water and trash bags. “I hope the word is getting out about not throwing trash into the river,” Kersting said. This year saw a larger number of volunteers, who deserve a thank you. See you next year and bring a friend.
Miracles—you bet they happen! Dear Editor, Last month, Frenz Coffee House came to a crossroads as to whether we would continue to exist. There were forces both seen and unseen that worked to undermine the business and push us toward being another sad statistic in this current economy. Don’t get me wrong, we were 100 percent responsible and accountable for the business, but some things were beyond our control. People who know us well enough know why we do what we do and that we don’t believe in this economy. The past winter had been exceptionally tough for the business and excessive debts had accumulated during that period. We shared our dilemma with a handful of close friends. They were not going to let Frenz go away without a fight and took on the HUGE task of organizing a benefit/fundraiser for Frenz in a very short period of time. Here’s the story: a handful of people, who know who they are, organized this event. In nine days they organized e-mails, a blog, contacted people and/or businesses for donations for a silent auction, and spent countless hours of their own time away from fun and family time to help Frenz. I know people are easily offended when you talk about things that make them uncomfortable or are not politically correct, but here’s more of the story. I don’t care if you are atheist, Christian, Muslim, or whatever flavor of religion, but what happened here was a miracle—plain and simple. What we witnessed was a community of strangers coming together for a common cause. This was not about Frenz, Michele or even me, but “something bigger” that people believe in and wanted to keep. Frenz has always been about you and not us. We believe our calling is to be servants who offer people a place of comfort, refuge and a place where you feel welcome. In nine days, we exceeded our goal of $10,000! We had over 100 items that we auctioned off, and overall the whole process was as smooth as can be. People came from all over the area. People we have never seen before, people who did not like coffee, and people who said their friends said they had to come and support […]
Thursday, September 3 What Don’t You Know About Rockford?—7 p.m. at Rockford Community Cabin. The monthly Rockford Area Historical Society meeting is open to the public. Find out what Bobbi Schirado discovered while putting together “Images of America—Rockford,” a pictorial history book, available at the Rockford Historical Museum for $21.99. Saturday, September 5 Rockford Farm Market—8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through October 31, in the South Squires Street parking lot, off Main St., downtown Rockford, featuring Michigan-grown produce, fresh baked goods, flowers and plants. Tuesday, September 8 Country Music—9:30 to 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday at Rockford Ambulance Community Center, corner of 10 Mile Road and Shaner Avenue in Rockford. Music by the Rogue River Band. Enjoy free coffee, tea and snacks. Blood Drive—noon to 7 p.m. at Rockford Community Cabin. Register to win a weekend casino getaway. Seniors “Video Day”—1 p.m. at Plainfield Senior Center. Review Bill Jamerson’s documentary “Camp Forgotten—Civilian Conservation Corps in Michigan.” Free admission. For more information, call Marcia at (616) 863-6322 or Christine at (616) 361-1389. American Sewing Guild Meeting—6:30 p.m. at Plainfield Senior Center, 5255 Grand River Drive NE, Grand Rapids. Enjoy a fabric auction. Cost is $2 for non-members; $1 for members. Refreshments will be served and Sew & Show presented. For more information, call Mary at (616) 698-9554 or Barb at (616) 949-6669, or visit www.grasg.org. Thur., September 10 “Joan of Arc” Auditions—6 to 8:30 p.m. at Rockford Community Center, 8450 Shaner Ave., Rockford. Rogue River Community Theatre is looking for men, women, teens and children 8 and up. For more information, call (616) 874-5264. Seniors Line Dancing—9:30 to 10:30 a.m. every Thursday at Northview Senior Center. Cost is $2 per class. For more information, call Marcia at (616) 863-6322 or Christine at (616) 365-6150. Friday–Monday September 11–14 Spectacular Book Sale—Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday 1 to 4 p.m., and Monday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Plainfield Township Library, 2650 Five Mile Rd., Grand Rapids. Hardcovers $1, softcovers 50 cents, paperbacks and children’s books 25 cents—great used books at bargain prices! Also a large number of old books! Sponsored by Friends of the Plainfield Library. Sat., September 12 Rockford Farm Market—8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through October 31, in the South Squires Street parking lot, off Main St., […]