Security and Privacy With Safe Deposit Boxes

You should be warned that tax authorities can gain access to banks’ safe deposit boxes. However, privately owned facilities are to be considered an alternative while strictly respecting ownership.

For investors of physical precious metals or other sorts of valuables – such as jewellery, works of art, securities or cryptocurrencies – the question of safe storage soon comes up. In the majority of cases, storage within a domestic or a company safe is out of the question. In addition to the limited capacity such safes afford, protection from burglary and insurance conditions also play decisive roles in ruling them out. It is a different case with the storage of gold, silver or other valuables in a classic safe deposit box, however. But how secure are bank-run safe deposit boxes in reality? What are the risks and what about the need for discretion? Does a tax office report need to be made automatically? Our article takes up these questions and presents viable alternatives.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Safe Deposit Boxes Plus Their Attendant Risks

At first glance, bank safe deposit boxes provide many advantages. Most of these well-secured safes are located in protected vaults within the building of a bank itself. Alarm systems and security personnel guard the valuables contained within them and, thereby, safeguard against theft. These self-contained systems often prevent damage from floods and fire. However, the risk from every kind of natural hazard is not insurable, generally speaking. As such, bank safe deposit boxes represent a clear improvement compared to privately accommodating a safe within your own four walls.

However, it is not possible to set up a safe deposit box in a bank anonymously. A customer account is required to do so from which fees will be charged and deductions made. In addition, many banks outside of Switzerland are obliged to report the rental of a safe deposit box with a central registration office where all the relevant user data will be registered – for example, the reporting of bank safe deposit boxes is mandatory in Germany. Content insurance is usually only possible to a limited extent and, commonly, these come with high premiums from the financial institutions that provide them. In the EU area, government agencies, such as the local tax authorities will also have access to the contents of a safe deposit box in the event of inheritance or bankruptcy. This can happen during a tax audit, as well. In addition to blocking the relevant bank account, access to the safe deposit box can also even be denied or restricted in some way.

The Alternative to a Bank Safe Deposit Box

The situation is very different when storing valuables in a privately managed vault storage system, such as at those available from Swiss Gold Safe, either in Switzerland or in the Principality of Liechtenstein. No bank account is required in the country concerned to open an off-bank safe deposit box. In addition, the process of taking one on will be treated with discretion because – unlike safe deposit boxes in banks – there is no obligation to provide information to governmental agencies. There is also no automatic exchange of information (AEOI or sometimes called CRS). Equally, no content declaration will be required either. Only the client concerned will receive any information or, in the case of inheritance, the declared heirs of the client. Even so, this would only be produced upon presentation of a valid certificate of inheritance.

These benefits apply not only to Swiss citizens but to customers from all other countries, as well. This is based on Switzerland’s long tradition of fully preserving property rights. The principle extends so far that the contents of any safe deposit box will remain in the tenant’s possession even in the unlikely event of the bankruptcy of the storage provider concerned.

There are further advantages with regard to contents insurance. Basic insurance of CHF 25,000 is already included with the rental contract supplied by Swiss Gold Safe. In addition, for an extra fee of 0.2% of the value of the contents per annum, the whole value can be fully insured. Here, too, the insurance company provides their service anonymously via the locker number, without the need to pass on any customer data. In this way, the highest level of discretion can be achieved.

Privately Run High Security Vaults

Your gold coins, bars or securities are stored in strictly guarded high-security facilities far away from metropolitan areas or large cities. They meet the latest standards in today’s security technology. The exact location of the vault storage facilities is only known to the customers concerned. They are easy to reach and, what’s more, they can only be accessed by registered clients.

Armed and well-trained security personnel are available for customers who want to visit in person. They can serve as an escort for deliveries on request.

Customer Privacy Is a Top Priority

Access to Swiss Gold Safe safe deposit boxes is only granted to people who rent them or to persons authorised by our customers. Booking in advance ensures maximum privacy can be maintained. This ensures that there are never two customers in the vault at the same time. The procedure also ensures that the content of a safe deposit box is actually known only to the customer concerned.

-> You can find out more about off-bank safe deposit boxes in Switzerland here .
-> You can find further details about safe deposit boxes in the Principality of Liechtenstein here .

The Function of Safe Deposit Boxes in Summary:

  • Safe deposit boxes are more suitable for storing valuables than safes or hiding places at home.
  • A bank account is required to open a safe deposit box at a banking establishment. In addition, customer data is recorded centrally. The tax authorities can demand access to it or can block the access rights of the holder.
  • The viable alternative is a private and off-bank safe deposit box which affords many advantages: no bank account, no content declaration, no reporting to government agencies.
  • Basic insurance is included but full insurance can be taken out, as well. Such insurance is arranged completely anonymously towards the insurance company.
  • The sort of modern high security vaults available today offer a high degree of discretion and privacy.
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