EU, Switzerland agree on deal to crack down on tax cheats, swap data from 2018

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The European Union on Thursday wrapped up negotiations with Switzerland on an information-sharing agreement involving banking customers as it seeks to crack down on tax cheats, informs.

Switzerland, an important financial hub, had initially resisted moves to exchange account-holder information protected by its tradition of banking secrecy. But it came under pressure as the battle against tax evasion developed into a global rallying cry.

Under the agreement, Bern will automatically provide the names, addresses, tax identification numbers and birth dates of EU residents with accounts in the country from 2018. The EU will reciprocate with details of accounts held by Swiss nationals.

“EU residents will no longer be able to hide undeclared income in Swiss accounts to evade paying tax,” the bloc‘s executive said in a statement.

The move is a “decisive step towards total tax transparency between Switzerland and the EU,” said the bloc‘s economy commissioner, Pierre Moscovici. “This transparency is vital to ensure that each country can collect the tax revenues it is due,” he added.

The agreement is in line with new international standards from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which foresees an annual exchange of information between governments on accounts held by individuals and entities.

It must now be signed into law, a formality that is expected to take place in the coming months.

The EU has pursued similar deals with Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra and San Marino. Within the bloc, Luxembourg and Austria have also agreed to relax their banking secrecy laws.

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