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Britain and Switzerland sign tax agreement

AFP · 6 Oct 2011, 16:48

Published: 06 Oct 2011 16:48 GMT+02:00

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Britain and Switzerland signed an agreement on Thursday which will allow the taxing of previously hidden funds held by Britons in Swiss bank accounts.

Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and a British Treasury minister, David Gauke, inked the accord in London, their ministries said.

Under the deal, British residents can retrospectively tax their existing banking relationships in Switzerland either by making a one-off tax payment or by disclosing their accounts.

When the accord was struck in August, Switzerland said investment income and capital gains arising from previously undisclosed assets held by British residents would be covered by a final withholding tax, at a rate of between 27 and 48 percent.

The agreement comes into force in 2013.

Switzerland said in a statement the deal "satisfies the interests and requirements of both countries equally well".

Story continues below…

The agreement between Switzerland and Britain is broadly similar to one that Swiss authorities signed with Germany last month.

Estimates in Britain put the amount of funds hidden by British residents in Switzerland at £125 billion ($192 billion).

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Your comments about this article

2011-10-07 00:53:13 by Global Macro
You don’t get it, do you? Or maybe you just pretend not to get it. They are not tax evaders; they are refugees. It is ironical that 1934 saw the dawn of Swiss bank secrecy laws during the emergence of several oppressive international regimes, and 2011 sees the sunset of Swiss bank secrecy laws during the emergence of new oppressive international regimes. It is shameful that Switzerland has found it necessary to surrender to the threats of these corrupt regimes. I hope that the truth is more subtle. I hope that Swiss banks continue to protect their customers while resisting implementation of these disgraceful tax agreements.
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