The head of tax issues at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has expressed concern over accords drawn up by Switzerland and some European nations to deal with the anonymity of assets.
Speaking for the first time on the issue, Pascal Saint-Amans told the Lausanne-based Le Matin newspaper on Monday that the so-called Rubik tax accords were “substantial” but raised questions.
"How can we control the implementation of these accords? I'm sceptical about this," he said.
“These accords claim to be the equivalent of the automatic exchange of [bank] information and I don’t think this is correct. It also raises the question of whether it is the role of bankers to collect tax for foreign tax authorities.”
Switzerland has come under increased pressure to hand over names of alleged tax cheats from countries such as Germany, France, Italy and Britain. In response, the Rubik principle was devised by the Association of Foreign Banks in Switzerland, and aims to separate income from wealth and hand over tax at source to third countries, while keeping the Swiss bank account holder’s anonymity.
Rubik deals have been signed in recent months with Austria, Germany and Britain but are subject to parliamentary approval in all the countries involved.
Saint-Amans, director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration since February, told the newspaper that the taxation rates agreed so far were “significant”.
Agreements with other EU member countries are planned despite pressure from Brussels to introduce an automatic exchange of banking data. The EU has also been demanding total transparency from Swiss banks.
Saint-Amans told Le Matin the OECD’s goal was to have a standard of exchanging information on request and noted that Switzerland had made “enormous progress even though there was still work to do”.
swissinfo.ch and agencies