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Austrian Finance Committee Votes In Favour Of Relaxed Bank Secrecy

Two Austrian opposition parties, the greens and the right wing BZO alliance, have voted with the government in the Finance Committee, to give the green light for the creation of legislation to relax bank secrecy laws and conform with OECD standards on tax information exchange.

The support of the two main opposition parties was necessary to reach the two thirds majority required to pass the 'Amtshilfe-Durchführungsgesetz', (administrative assistance) bill; this bill will enable Austria to meet international undertakings to meet OECD standards. Bank secrecy laws will be lifted only for those accounts held by non-residents who are not subject to Austrian tax.

A special sitting was afterwards scheduled for September 1 in order to vote through the act. Finance minister, Josef Proell has been quoted as describing this as a 'clear signal' which will enable Austria to be removed from the so-called 'OECD grey list'. "After the bill is enacted, the necessary double taxation agreements can be negotiated with all due speed", said Proell.

Austria is the last EU country to remain on the so-called OECD 'grey list', which contains countries that have confirmed their willingness to adopt OECD standards of tax transparency, but which have not yet proved this willingness through concrete action.

What is going on with all those former Tax havens and banking secrecy countries? Looks like you have to move your money far away to keep it secured!

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