EU and Switzerland strike tax transparency deal

27 May 15

The European Union and Switzerland have signed a historic tax agreement, which will end Swiss bank secrecy and prevent tax evaders from hiding undeclared income.

During the signing this morning at the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels, the agreement was hailed as a ‘new era’ for tax transparency and cooperation.

‘It is another blow against tax evaders, and another leap towards fairer taxation in Europe,’ said Pierre Moscovici, European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs.

‘The EU led the way on the automatic exchange of information, in the hope that our international partners would follow. This agreement is proof of what EU ambition and determination can achieve.’

Under the agreement, both the EU and the Swiss government will automatically exchange information on the financial accounts of each other’s residents from 2018. It will provide tax authorities with essential information about their residents’ foreign income, so that they can assess and collect the taxes that are due to them.

The agreement will also see member states receive annually the names, addresses, tax identification numbers and dates of birth of their residents with accounts in Switzerland, as well as other financial and account balance information.

The commission said: ‘This new transparency should not only improve member states’ ability to track down and tackle tax evaders, but it should also act as a deterrent against hiding income and assets abroad to evade taxes.’

It added the EU-Swiss agreement was in line with strengthened transparency requirements that member states agreed last year and consistent with the new OECD/G20 global standards for automatic exchange of information.

The commission is currently concluding negotiations for similar agreements with Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino, which are expected to be signed before the end of the year

  • Judith Ugwumadu
    Judith Ugwumadu

    Judith writes about public finance, public services and economics across Public Finance International and Public Finance. She previously undertook reporting stints at Financial Adviser, Global Security Finance and The Sunday Express.

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