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No line between fraud and evasion for Swiss

The distinction between tax fraud and tax evasion should be abolished, even for Swiss clients banking domestically, the Swiss justice minister has said.

Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf told the Zurich-based NZZ am Sonntag newspaper that as long as the Swiss upheld the distinction for foreign clients, abolishing it at home could never be discussed. That is no longer the case, she said.

“Now that the distinction has been lifted to the outside world, the time has come to talk about it at home,” the newspaper quoted her.

Exactly how that would play out for clients at Swiss banks and financial institutions remains unknown. The justice minister said lawmakers would have to work carefully to determine which cases of tax cheating would warrant punishment.

Earlier last week, Christian Wanner, chairman of the Finance Directors Conference, called for the country to scrap the distinction, which says tax fraud is a crime whereas tax evasion is not. He said many cantonal finance directors would support such a move. and agencies

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