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Debate launched on global exchange of tax data

Finance Minister Widmer-Schlumpf (right) ahead of the first cabinet meeting this year Keystone

The Swiss government is seeking to extend cooperation with partner countries as part of planned international treaties on the introduction of the exchange of information on tax matters.

Under the proposals presented to journalists by Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf on Wednesday, the cabinet wants Switzerland to agree to three forms of information sharing  in an effort to crack down on tax dodgers.

It is the latest stage towards the gradual implementation of the global rules by Switzerland foreseen from 2018.

“Switzerland wants to forge accords with all the politically and economically important countries and financial centres,” said Widmer-Schlumpf.

However, the minister did not go into further detail.

Besides the automatic exchange of information – based on accords by the Organisation for Economic Development and Co-operation and the Council of Europe – closer contacts are also sought to trade additional data on suspected tax cheats.

“The global standard creates a level playing field for all financial centres around the world. For Switzerland, this means that tax-related banking secrecy will no longer apply for clients from abroad,” a finance ministry statement said.

However, the transparency rules do not apply to domestic clients, the ministry added.

Following consultations with political parties, cantons and other institutions the cabinet is due present a bill for parliament to discuss later this year.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR