Switzerland to Hinder Tax Cheats

15
Vote


ZURICH—Switzerland said it will make it easier for foreign governments to hunt for tax cheats with Swiss bank accounts, amid continuing criticism that it still does too little to assist international tax authorities even after two years of pressure to ease bank secrecy.

The Swiss Finance Ministry said Tuesday that Switzerland will provide information on holders of bank accounts if foreign tax authorities provide the bank-account number or other information, such as a Social Security number or credit-card details.

Until now, the Swiss demanded other bank-account details, as well as the name and address of the individual—a requirement that goes beyond rules typical in other countries. The extra hurdles made it hard for foreign tax authorities to get enough information out of the Swiss to pursue tax cheats. The Swiss requirements were so tough that Bern received an average of only three such requests each year until 2009, despite Switzerland’s being the world’s largest offshore banking center.

“In the past, the Swiss had an extremely high threshold [for giving help in tax matters],” according to Milan Patel, head of the Zurich office of tax advisory firm Sharp Kemm P.A. “The perception was, ‘Why bother if we’re not going to get anything?’ ”

Switzerland made the change after it concluded it wouldn’t pass review by a tax forum organized under the umbrella of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The continuing review stems from the move in 2009 by the OECD to put Switzerland on a so-called gray list of tax havens because of its refusal to recognize tax evasion as a crime.

Tax fraud, or intentionally seeking to avoid taxes, was a crime in Switzerland, while tax evasion was not.

As a result, foreign governments had to prove a suspected tax cheat committed tax fraud, rather than tax evasion, to get help from the Swiss. In 2009, Switzerland dropped the distinction. But it demanded the exact name and address of the individual. Tax agencies often have bank-account information because they see movements of money, but don’t have the account holder’s name.

The Swiss hindered tax investigations in the case of misspelled names or inexact addresses. In some cases, they demanded the name of the so-called beneficial owner, or the individual behind a trust or an offshore entity who were the titular account holders.

Now the Swiss will help if a foreign country provides a reasonable amount of information to track down an account, although it will draw the line at so-called fishing expeditions, where a foreign government provides only scarce details in search of a tax cheat.

“We can’t be so formalistic” in the information we require,” said Urs Ursprung, director of the Swiss Federal Tax Administration in an interview. “But the requesting state has to give some back ground as to why they suspect a person.”

Jeffrey Owens, director of the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration at the OECD, said the change will likely affect a small number of cases, but will act as a deterrent to tax evaders seeking to open Swiss bank accounts. “This sends a strong signal that Switzerland is no longer in the business of facilitating offshore tax evasion,” he said in an interview.

The news comes as Switzerland continues to grapple with ways to satisfy foreign governments seeking to crack down on tax evaders in order to fill depleted public coffers. Last fall, Switzerland struck a landmark tax agreement in principle with the U.K. and Germany whereby the Swiss would collect a withholding tax on assets stashed by British and German investors in Swiss accounts, and send the money to London and Berlin. In return, the identity of the accounts would remain secret. Bern is still finalizing the details of these treaties.
[Story Source] [Contest win Rs 1000-100,000 now]

This post was submitted by superblogger.

Related Posts
Govt to SC: Will tax black money

Govt to SC: Will tax black money

The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that black money stashed in tax havens abroad would be taxable income under the Direct Taxes Code Bill. It however, maintained its earlier stand on not reveal...
 	Here’s how Abhi-Ash fell in love

Here’s how Abhi-Ash fell in love

Have you always wondered how Bollywood's most powerful couple Abhishek Bachchan and Aisharya Rai Bachchan met and fell in love? What conspired between the two when they felt the sparks flying? AB Jr r...
Jet Air Q3 net up but misses estimate; shares slip

Jet Air Q3 net up but misses estimate; shares slip

Jet Airways India, India's largest private carrier, on Wednesday reported lower-than-expected 11.3 percent rise in Oct-Dec net profit, sending its shares down as much as 3.6 percent.The limited growth...
Katrina Kaif breaks down as income tax officers search her home

Katrina Kaif breaks down as income tax officers search her home

Income tax (I-T) officials on Monday searched the homes of Bollywood actresses Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif for suspected tax evasion. Twelve places in the western suburbs, including the residence...
 	Saif-Bebo fly from Swiss for Pataudi’s b’day

Saif-Bebo fly from Swiss for Pataudi’s b’day

Kareena Kapoor and beau Saif Ali Khan who are holidaying in Switzerland, returned to Mumbai for a day (more than 20 hours in travelling time) to celebrate his father Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi's 70th b...
India looking into tax liability in Kraft’s Cadbury deal

India looking into tax liability in Kraft’s Cadbury deal

The ministry of finance has initiated action to see if Kraft Foods will have to pay taxes to Indian authorities in its USD 19 bn takeover of Cadbury last year, as claimed by a public interest petition...

Leave a Reply

 
We will keep You Updated...
Get Free Email Newsletter from VoteUpIndia Sign up for our free email newsletter. (Help?)
Read latest headlines in your favorite news reader
Follow VoteUpIndia  on Twitter Become a VoteUpIndia Fan on Facebook Subscribe to VoteUpIndia in Google Reader Add VoteUpIndia  to My Yahoo Add VoteUpIndia  to Netvibes Subscribe to Free Techie Buzz RSS Feed
Sponsored Links
Advertisements
Featured Video
Amazon
Best Storytellers
Powered by Authors Widget
Recent Posts

McDonald's Suspends Employee, Probes Child's Eviction From Pune Outlet

PUNE: After reports emerged that an eight-year-old destitute child was thrown out of an outlet of...

Why Arjun Made a Humble Request to Cast Sonakshi in Tevar

It's all about wearing your Tevar, this new year. Arjun Kapoor looked dapper at the initial promotions...

5 things Modi needs to do ASAP, after Bihar loss

It's not correct to transpose the outcome from a state election as a referendum on the central government,...

Sehwag's half century in All Star tournament.

The first match has been really special. We thoroughly enjoyed being here. New York, you were brilliant....

Bihar Defeat May Lead to Silent Rebellion in BJP Against PM, Amit Shah: Arun Shourie to NDTV

NEW DELHI: In the aftermath of the BJP's debacle in Bihar, Arun Shourie, one time admirer of Narendra...

Court Refuses to Stop Gillette Razor Ad Starring Deepika Padukone

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has refused to stop a Gillette razor advertisement starring Deepika...

Bigg Boss 9: Roopal Tyagi voted out of the house

TV actor Roopal Tyagi was evicted from reality show Bigg Boss on Sunday’s episode. Roopal is the...
Recent Comments
How i can submit my story...? and where i can see the staus of votes for this?
IFFI lose its art value,so it became lose it commercial value
Dear sir I am sending an article which is based on true story and needs your help to lime light such incidents which never come in
Thanks for the interesting article. Great Post. Keep it up
It is indeed heartening to learn that LSE, the world leader in higher education, will join hands with the most admired Reliance Foun
Tag Cloud