Swiss not doing enough to combat tax evasion

21st October 2008, Comments 0 comments

German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck says Switzerland is not providing the necessary information to establish that tax evasion is being carried out.

21 October 2008

PARIS -- German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said Switzerland is not providing the necessary information to establish that tax evasion is being carried out.

Steinbrueck was speaking after a Paris-based meeting where ministers and representatives from 18 members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have decided to draw up a new "blacklist" of international tax havens.

The German minister told journalists after the meeting that tax evasion was not only an economic problem, but also a social one.

"If we are not careful, our social and economic systems will lose their legitimacy," Steinbrueck warned.

The new blacklist will cite countries which are unwilling to cooperate with international investigators looking for companies and individuals who avoid paying taxes on their incomes by depositing their money in offshore bank accounts.

Tuesday's conference in Paris was convened by France and Germany. The French government estimates that its annual budget is deprived of between EUR 30 to 40 billion because of offshore tax havens.

Three OECD members Luxembourg, Austria and Switzerland boycotted the meeting because their economies benefit from providing tax havens.

A conference to combat tax havens is to be held in Berlin in July 2009.

[dpa / Expatica]

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