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Switzerland & UK agree to Tax Information Sharing

The Switzerland and the UK on September 7 amended their current double tax agreement to include the OECD recommended standard on banking transparency and tax information exchange.
The new agreement will allow the UK to request information on it's citizens with so called secret Swiss offshore bank accounts. The move is yet another blow to Swiss banking secrecy as it allows the UK to request information on people suspected of both civil and criminal tax charges. In the past this was limited to those accused of tax fraud, a much more serious and difficult to prove charge.

The agreement was signed by the Financial Secretary to the UK Treasury, Stephen Timms, and the Swiss Ambassador to the UK, Alexis Lautenberg.

Following the conclusion of the agreement Stephen Timms commented:

“I very much welcome the Swiss Federal Council’s agreement on international co-operation in tax matters and their adoption of the OECD standard on administrative assistance.”

“The days when hiding money off-shore represented a viable means of evading UK tax are rapidly drawing to a close,” he added.

Dave Hartnett, HMRC’s Permanent Secretary for Tax, observed that:

“Transparency and information exchange are the foundation on which fair and effective tax systems are built. I am delighted that there is growing global recognition of the inevitability of properly regulated information exchange as the key to proper tax visibility.”

On March 13, 2009, the Swiss Federal Council announced that Switzerland would change policy on international cooperation in tax matters, and would adopt the OECD standard on administrative assistance in tax matters under Article 26 of the OECD Model Double Taxation Convention. The decision will permit exchange of information on tax matters in individual cases, where a specific and justified request has been made.
Looks like this will never stop, Switzerland is defiantly not the country to bank any longer at least not if it is for privacy.