Some Swiss banks are not allowing their German customers to make cash withdrawals until a double taxation treaty between Bern and Berlin comes into force, the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) said on Monday.

"/> Some Swiss banks are not allowing their German customers to make cash withdrawals until a double taxation treaty between Bern and Berlin comes into force, the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) said on Monday.

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Some Swiss banks refusing cash withdrawals by Germans

Some Swiss banks are not allowing their German customers to make cash withdrawals until a double taxation treaty between Bern and Berlin comes into force, the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) said on Monday.

“It is temporary problem which only affects certain banks and only for cash withdrawals,” a SBA spokeswoman told AFP.

She explained that some banks were reticent to allow cash withdrawals from their German customers, to ensure the tax deal agreed to in August between both countries but as yet unsigned is implemented correctly, and not emptied of its content through withdrawals or the closure of accounts.

However, the concerned banks would still make electronic transfers, even to accounts in Germany, she said.

The tax deal, expected to be signed in the German capital on Wednesday, ends a long-standing dispute between the two countries.

Under the accord, Swiss banks agreed to pay 2 billion francs ($2.26 billion) to German tax authorities.

The deal could snare up to just short of 1,000 tax cheats over two years.

German taxpayers would be given a one-off chance to make an anonymous lump sum tax payment, with the tax rate to vary between 19 and 34 percent of the assets.

Any taxes collected from these voluntary disclosures would be offset against the two billion franc advance payment and refunded to the Swiss banks.

In the future, all investment income and capital gains arising from assets held by German taxpayers would also be covered by a withholding tax of 26.375 percent.

The agreement would have to be approved by both countries’ parliaments before entering into force in early 2013.

However, some German parliamentarians have already signaled their opposition.

The finance minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Norbert Walter-Borjans, on September 12th threatened to block the deal.

“I will do everything to prevent the indulgence given to tax frauders,” said the social-democrat minister in an interview with German magazine Spiegel.

According to German media, between €130 billion and €180 billion are hidden in Switzerland, which could therefore raise up to 54 billion in taxes for Berlin.

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TRAVEL

Travel: Are neighbouring countries still open to Swiss tourists?

Borders between Switzerland and its neighbours are open. But given high coronavirus infection rates, border nations have tightened their entry requirements.

Travel: Are neighbouring countries still open to Swiss tourists?
Good old days in Paris. Photo by AFP

Yes, people from Switzerland can still to go to France, Germany, Italy and Austria, but it is not as easy as it was before the second wave of Covid-19 swept the entire region.

Of the four states bordering Switzerland, Austria is the easiest to enter.

For the time being, it does not restrict travellers from Switzerland. The borders remain open and no quarantine or Covid test is required for Swiss residents.

Like Austria, Italy has not to date implemented any access restrictions or quarantine requirements for Switzerland. The only condition set by the Italian authorities is that each person entering the country must complete a form declaring that they have not tested positive for Covid-19. Otherwise, it is necessary to observe a 14-day quarantine. 

However, before travelling south of the border keep in mind that Italian cinemas and theaters are closed, and restaurants must stop serving their customers at 6 pm. The authorities have also imposed a night curfew from 10 pm until 5 am.


READ MORE: How will lockdowns in France and Germany affect Swiss residents? 

 

France

Since October 30th, France has been in lockdown, which will last until at least December 1st. As such, travel on French territory is prohibited, except in well-defined cases — including trips to get to work, trips to buy essential goods, or trips for compelling family reasons — and on presentation of an ‘exit certificate’.

Germany

Unlike France, Germany has not implemented a new shutdown. However, restaurants, bars and leisure facilities like theaters and cinemas are closed until December.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said last week that the country's borders with its neighbours, including Switzerland, would remain open.

Gemany already placed Switzerland on its quarantine list on October 22nd, because Swiss Covid infection rates exceed those of its neighbour.

This means that anyone who enters from Switzerland must be tested on arrival in Germany. The tested person must then quarantine until the result comes through.

But the German state of Baden-Württemberg, which borders Switzerland, exempts Swiss arrivals from quarantine, under some conditions.

For example, those crossing the border from Switzerland to visit family and friends will be permitted to do so without quarantine, provided they do not stay longer than 48 hours. 

Baden-Württemberg's authorities are also allowing residents of Appenzell, Aargau, Basel, Basel-Country, Jura, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, St. Gallen, Thurgau and Zurich to come to Germany without being tested, as long as they stay no longer than 24 hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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