The U.S. tax and regulatory environment inflicted another casualty last week. ViaMat, a Swiss firm providing vaulting and transport services for bullion and other valuables, threw in the towel and instructed U.S. customers they will need to go elsewhere:
“We are currently experiencing rapid and substantial changes in the general regulations within this business. The changes mainly relate to the tax structures and taxation systems of various countries. As a consequence of these changes VIA MAT INTERNATIONAL has taken the decision to stop offering this service at its vault [sic] outside of the U.S. to private customers with potential U.S.-tax liability.”
The move mirrors action taken by Wegelin, the oldest bank in Switzerland, back in 2011. The bank stopped accepting business from the U.S., rather than buckle under pressure from U.S. regulators and hand over confidential account information.
To be clear, the regulations impacting ViaMat and other firms are focused on U.S. citizens with assets overseas. Investors storing precious metals inside the U.S. are not subject to any new rules — at least for now.