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Australia Bern and Canberra work towards tax agreement

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey (left) and Swiss ambassador Marcel Stutz after signing a joint declaration on tax cooperation

(Keystone)

Switzerland and Australia have signed a joint declaration on introducing the reciprocal automatic exchange of information in tax matters. It is Bern’s first such agreement under an international framework to automatically swap tax information.

The two countries intend to start collecting data in 2017 and first transmit data in 2018, after the necessary legal basis has been created in both countries, the finance ministry said in a statement. 

The joint declaration, signed in Canberra on Tuesday by ambassador Marcel Stutz and Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey, aims to prevent cross-border tax evasion. 

“Previously hidden foreign income is being uncovered. There’s no longer any hiding,” said the Australian finance ministry in a statement. 

Switzerland is under growing international pressure over bank secrecy and tax evasion, most recently highlighted by allegations that the Swiss arm of HSBC had helped clients dodge taxes. 

Switzerland is among a host of countries who have committed to a multilateral tax detail sharing agreement developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 

The Swiss finance ministry said Australia had also declared its willingness to hold talks on improving market access for Swiss financial service providers. 

Following the signing of this declaration, the finance ministry will now prepare a consultation draft on the introduction of the automatic exchange of information in tax matters with Australia. The corresponding bill will be submitted to parliament for approval.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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