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Switzerland to play active role in tax info sharing standards

Press Trust of India  |  Davos 

Switzerland has expressed its willingness to play an active role in efforts to develop a global standard for automatic exchange of information in tax matters.

Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, head of Swiss Federal Department of Finance, met various ministers and high ranking politicians from different countries on the sidelines of the just concluded World Economic Forum (WEF) here.

During her talks with OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria, Widmer-Schlumpf "confirmed Switzerland's willingness to play a constructive and active role in the development of a global standard for the automatic exchange of information", according to a release issued by the Swiss government.

Both sides also acknowledged the country signing the OECD/Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, as well as the progress made within the framework of the Global Forum's peer review.

Paris-based OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) sets the global tax standards and is a key player in international efforts to curb the menace of tax evasion and black money.

As per the release, issued on January 25, the topic of automatic information exchange on tax matters was discussed during Widmer-Schlumpf's meeting with European Commissioner for Taxation, Algirdas Semeta.

Besides, there were discussions on business taxation and ongoing negotiations on the taxation of savings agreement.

On the sidelines of WEF, Widmer-Schlumpf also met with her Dutch counterpart Jeroen Dijsselbloem as well as finance ministers from Sweden (Anders Borg), Ireland (Michael Noonan), Germany (Wolfang Schauble), and Turkey (Ali Babacan).

In her meeting with Italian finance minister Fabrizio Saccomanni, Widmer-Schlumpf discussed about the progress made on bilateral financial and tax issues.

Seen as a major step in cracking down on black money menace, Switzerland in October 2013 agreed to automatic exchange of tax information and mutual administrative assistance in tax matters with overseas jurisdictions.

The convention, once operational, would require Switzerland to extending all kinds of mutual assistance in tax matters including exchange on request, spontaneous information sharing, tax examinations abroad, and assistance in tax collection.

Meanwhile, Switzerland has intensified efforts to address Indian concerns over alleged stashing of illicit funds in Swiss banks.

There have been concerns in India about limited flow of tax information from Switzerland about Indian citizens who have allegedly stashed away unaccounted money in Swiss banks.

First Published: Sun, January 26 2014. 17:20 IST