Swiss ask OECD about G20 tax list

1st May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Merz asks the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to explain how the tax “greylist” was developed.

ZURICH - Switzerland revealed Wednesday that it was formally calling on the OECD to explain why some of the Group of 20 economies were not included on a list that formed the basis for an international crackdown on tax evasion.

In a letter to OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria, President and Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz repeated Swiss complaints about the "non-transparent, arbitrary and exclusive" way the organisation developed the list.

But he also called on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to ensure that tax information exchange agreements countries sign to meet OECD standards are effective.

The Swiss government moved to ease banking secrecy in March by seeking selective exchange of information with foreign countries following months of international pressure caused by the financial crisis.

Switzerland was placed on the "grey" section of the OECD's list, among about 40 financial centres that "have committed to the internationally agreed tax standard, but have not yet substantially implemented" it.

In the letter sent Tuesday, Merz asked Gurria to reveal what criteria was used in considering all the countries and whether the OECD would "take into account the quality and timeliness of the exchanged information."

"Why are certain members of the G20 not included? Has the OECD examined the level of tax cooperation in tax matters of these countries?" he wrote, among other questions.

"The key issue is how such cooperation is implemented and monitored," Merz said in the letter released by his ministry. "There must be a level playing field for all jurisdictions concerned."

Copies of the letter were also sent to British Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling and the chairman of the Financial Stability Board, Italian central bank governor Mario Draghi.

AFP / Expatica

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