Switzerland Mulls Speeding Measures Against Tax Evasion

Business » FINANCE | February 20, 2014, Thursday // 13:50

Switzerland is considering a quicker decision on sharing bank client information with foreign tax authorities.

According to its Finance Minister Eveline Wildmer-Schlumpf, the country must now take into account the standards that are to be imposed by a draft agreement between countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development completed last week.

A total of 42 countries have already expressed their willingness to automatically share information on taxpayers' offshore bank and brokerage accounts with foreign tax authorities in line with the OECD standards that are expected to come into force.

Under the agreed blueprint, the information on residents' account balances would have to be reported by the banks to their government. The data will be automatically available to the other governments that have signed the document.

"Switzerland cannot hold back until all other countries have introduced the practice", Wildmer-Schlumpf was quoted as saying by Euractiv, citing comments in the Neue Zuercher Zeitung.

"Everything has happened a lot faster than we thought it would. That means we have to position ourselves quickly, and in relation to the European Union, as well", she explained, referring to the OECD negotiations on bank client data standards.

Swiss banks are under increasing pressure, mostly by the United States and Germany, to reveal bank accounts held by their citizens and thus help in the fight against tax evasion.

The Swiss Basellandschaftliche Zeitung, on the other hand, reports that the prospect of conforming to OECD rules has already led to a heated discussion in the Swiss Parliament.

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Tags: Switzerland, Swiss, bank, OECD, client information

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