The "tax haven" business model is out of fashion

The political pressure on countries with a "tax haven" business model is having an increasing impact: Luxembourg and Austria want to reveal their banking secrecy, and British overseas territories are also to disclose information about holders of bank accounts in the future.

As announced by the British Treasury Department, the government in London signed a corresponding agreement with Bermuda and the Virgin Islands as well as with the areas of Anguilla, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands. This means that the overseas territories of Great Britain will in future automatically transmit account holder data such as name, address and date of birth as well as account number, account balance and money transfers.

Eliminate control slip angle

The information should also be made available to Germany, France, Italy and Spain. According to the ministry, the agreement also allows owners of funds in overseas territories to be found. The British Treasury Secretary George Osborne described the agreement as a "decisive step" to take action against illicit financial transactions and called on other countries to also remove such tax hideaways.

Great Britain is reacting to great pressure, especially from Austria. The government in Vienna recently heavily criticized Great Britain for the tax havens in the British overseas territories. Last June, the EU countries agreed to work more closely together in the fight against tax evasion.

SPD names conditions for Swiss agreements

Apparently, Switzerland does not want to give the impression that it is protecting tax evaders. Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter was open to new talks about a tax agreement in a conversation with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle. The government in Bern is doing a U-turn, because it has always refused new negotiations after the failed agreement.

In Germany, the new Swiss willingness to talk met with goodwill. The SPD, which blocked the first agreement in the Federal Council, has now formulated conditions. An important prerequisite is met, "if it goes according to the principles of the rule of law, if it becomes clear that we do not consider the continued anonymity of tax crimes to be the right thing to do," said Joachim Poss, vice-chief of the SPD parliamentary group, in the NDR. In addition, "a European regulation on the automatic exchange of information should no longer be blocked".

There should be no agreement "that represents the interests of tax evaders and Swiss banks," said NRW finance minister Norbert Walter-Borjans in the joint morning magazine of ARD and ZDF. Rather, an agreement must ensure "that taxes that have to be paid are also paid". It is not only about the fact that the interest is taxed, but also that no untaxed money can be brought into Switzerland. To this end, an automatic exchange of information is important, said the SPD minister.

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