Switzerland and Greece are set to hold talks on a tax agreement with a view to curbing capital flight from Greece to Swiss banks and thereby increase the crisis-hit country’s tax revenues.

"/> Switzerland and Greece are set to hold talks on a tax agreement with a view to curbing capital flight from Greece to Swiss banks and thereby increase the crisis-hit country’s tax revenues.

" />
SHARE
COPY LINK

TAX

Swiss open to talks on Greek cash stash

Switzerland and Greece are set to hold talks on a tax agreement with a view to curbing capital flight from Greece to Swiss banks and thereby increase the crisis-hit country’s tax revenues.

Switzerland and Greece are in discussions about setting up a tax agreement, according to the Financial Times Deutschland (FTD). The treaty would help prevent capital flight from Greece and increase the country’s tax revenue.

The majority of the 200 billion euros ($276 billion) stashed in Swiss banks is money that goes undeclared to Greek fiscal authorities, reports the FTD, so an agreement could contribute to the debt-ridden country’s rescue.

In the wake of the financial crisis, the number of tax evaders in Greece increased massively.

According to statistics from the Greek Central Bank, since the beginning of 2010, €33.3 billion ($46 billion) has been withdrawn from Greek banks, hampering credit. Some experts say the figure is closer to €87 billion ($120 billion).

Horst Reichenbach, who heads a European Union task force on rebuilding Greece’s economy, told the FTD that the treaty would be similar to the one signed on September 21st with Germany.

The agreement between Bern and Berlin will mean banks collect a flat tax of 26 per cent on income earned on assets belonging to German customers. This rate is almost the same to the current rate of tax charged on such income in Germany.

As for dealing with the past, German clients with long-standing funds held in Switzerland will have the option of paying a one-off flat-rate tax settlement of between 19 and 34 per cent or disclose their assets to the German fiscal authorities.

In return Berlin has agreed not to pursue new prosecutions or buy more stolen data of German clients’ accounts in Alpine banks.

A spokesperson for the State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF) confirmed to the newspaper that a preliminary meeting is scheduled for next week, after the October 23rd federal elections.

If Greece and Switzerland do reach an agreement, it would not come into effect until January 1st 2013 because the negotiations will be long and difficult, Reichenbach said. That is the same date for the tax treaty with Germany to be in effect.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHOW COMMENTS