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 Historic tax agreements between the UK and Switzerland

The UK Government and Switzerland have reached an agreement over the issue of tax evasion by UK taxpayers.  

“The agreement will resolve the long-standing abuse of Swiss banking secrecy by those who seek to conceal the proceeds of tax evasion and is expected to secure billions of pounds of unpaid tax for the UK exchequer by 2013,” the HM Treasury press release noted.  

To settle past tax liabilities, existing funds held by UK taxpayers in Switzerland will be subject to a one-off deduction of between 19% and 34%. Those who have already paid taxes will not be affected. The agreement is set to come into force in 2013, after which a new withholding tax of 48% on investment income and 27% on gains will ensure the effective future taxation of UK residents with funds in Swiss bank accounts.  

“The days when it was easy to stash the profits of tax evasion in Switzerland are over,” said George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer. David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury added, ““The message is clear: there is no hiding place for tax cheats”.  

In a separate development, Switzerland and Germany have finalised the tax agreement between the two countries.  

The treaty will give clients of banks in Switzerland who are taxable in Germany “a path to tax compliance while maintaining their financial security,” according to the Swiss Bankers Association press release. It added that the maximum tax rate for regularising the past is 34%, but the effective tax rate for most clients will be between 20% and 25% of total assets. Germany will receive direct access to the tax base it is due, both past and future.  

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