EU tax chief flags up Swiss deals

The European Union Commissioner for Taxation has raised potential issues to do with Switzerland’s recent taxation deals with Germany and Britain.

This content was published on October 25, 2011 - 22:38 and agencies

Addressing a debate on fiscal issues at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Algirdas Semeta said the European Commission was prepared to take “corrective measures” if the accords were found to breach EU directives.

Semeta said he understood member states were searching for ways to boost their national coffers and the “attractiveness” of such accords, which permitted the collection of withholding taxes on hidden assets deposited in another country.

He said on first examination the British and German accords had differing rates of withholding tax to that fixed in an EU-Swiss agreement and were inefficient methods of deterring tax evasion.

He said there needed to be “a common EU approach towards Switzerland and other third countries”.

Earlier this month the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs raised the issue with the European Commission, questioning whether individual member states had the right to sign bilateral accords with third-party states - and the Swiss accords in particular. 

The Swiss accords still have to be ratified by Swiss, German and British parliaments.

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