OECD still regards Switzerland as tax haven
Switzerland has been listed alongside well-known tax havens in a new OECD ranking, showing the country still has work to do on banking secrecy despite recent steps aimed at tackling the issue.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes is due to officially release ratings for 50 jurisdictions at a meeting in the Indonesian capital on Friday.
The forum has rated jurisdictions on how well they comply with rules on tax transparency.
But Switzerland failed even to make it past the first stage of a two-stage assessment, according to documents obtained by AFP Thursday, meaning it did not receive a rating.
Other countries who also did not make it to the second stage included Panama, the Marshall Islands and Trinidad and Tobago, although the OECD's final judgement on them was harsher than on Switzerland.
It came after Switzerland took steps last month to tackle its long-criticized banking secrecy, including signing an international tax evasion agreement brokered by the OECD and introducing new legislation to increase cooperation on money-laundering.
Swiss authorities have come under pressure from the international community to clamp down on the concealment of illicit funds and on tax evasion, in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent eurozone debt crisis.
Despite Switzerland's failure to complete the process, Pascal Saint-Amans, OECD head of tax issues, struck an upbeat note, telling AFP it was now "moving ahead".
But he said the OECD would continue to monitor the country closely to ensure its recent steps "are actually enacted and become law, which is not yet the case".
Of the jurisdictions that completed the two-stage assessment, 18 were deemed to be "compliant" with the tax transparency rules set out by the forum; many others were considered "largely compliant"; while Austria and Turkey were "partially compliant".
Four were deemed to be "non-compliant": Cyprus, Luxembourg, the Seychelles and the British Virgin Islands.