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Bern and Berlin hammer out new tax accord

Switzerland and Germany have reached agreement in principle on a new double-taxation accord.

Swiss finance minister Hans-Rudolf Merz and his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schäuble, on Friday initialled an accord that is set to help Germany in its campaign against tax cheaters.

“We are determined to solve the problem,” Schäuble told a news briefing after talks on bilateral tax issues with Merz.

A bilateral working group is now set to clarify unresolved financial and tax issues, a Swiss finance ministry statement said. Details of the accord will be published when it is signed.

The statement added that Switzerland would continue its policy of not providing administrative assistance in cases relating to stolen bank client data bought by the German tax authorities.

However, administrative assistance is to be given in tax matters in accordance with standards laid down by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Switzerland was last year put on an OECD “grey list” of countries that were not compliant with the organisation’s tax cooperation rules and has since signed a series of new double-tax accords to fall in line on tax assistance.

The working group will look at the possibilities for arranging the taxation of German resident’s untaxed assets invested in Swiss financial institutions, as well as ensuring the taxation of investment income from such assets. and agencies


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