Swiss retain 534.8 million francs in European taxes

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Swiss authorities said on Tuesday that they had paid to EU states about 401.1 million francs (290.6 million euros, 346.1 million dollars) in taxes retained on interest payments on assets held by Europeans here.

Switzerland itself retained 133.7 million francs in taxes, bringing the total sum of withholding taxes from accounts held by European Union taxpayers inh Switzerland last year to 534.8 million francs.

In 2008, the total in withholding taxes reached 738.4 million francs.

Taxes retained for Italy made up the biggest share, with some 122.98 million francs. This is followed by Germany with 109.27 million francs withheld.

Under an agreement with the EU that took effect in July 2005, Switzerland currently levies a 20 percent tax on interest payments on savings accounts held by European taxpayers in Swiss banks.

The deal was struck in an attempt to discourage tax evasion by EU residents with accounts in Switzerland.

© 2010 AFP

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