1,500 Britons declare hidden assets in Liechtenstein: report

10th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

About 1,500 Britons have come forward to declare assets held in Liechtenstein banks to the British tax authorities, the principality's prime minister said in remarks published Wednesday.

"This surpassed not only the expectations of the British authorities but also ours," Klaus Tschuetscher told Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger.

"More than a third are new clients in Liechtenstein," he said, adding that a tax deal with Britain has had a positive impact.

In August 2009, Liechtenstein struck a deal with Britain to grant special conditions to British taxpayers who come clean about assets held in the principality by 2015.

Under the accord, the taxpayers' details would be kept confidential and a reduced penalty of 10 percent would be levied, instead of the regular penalties which could reach up to 100 percent of the tax evaded.

In addition, they would benefit from a reduced period for the assessment of outstanding tax claims as well as the option of being taxed at a flat rate of 40 percent.

Tschuetscher said the principality is already in discussions with the British to examine what should be done after the accord expires.

"We are in discussions because we won't want to return to the same situation as previously," he said.

Liechtenstein came under strong international pressure following the 2008 global financial and economic crisis as governments of several industrialised states seeking to boost their depleted treasuries launched a clampdown on offshore tax and banking havens.

© 2011 AFP

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