Tax deal has yet to be agreed

City A.M. Reporter
GERMANY and Switzerland have rejected a report they had agreed to a landmark tax deal that would reap €30bn (£26.2bn) from tax evaders but said they still aimed for a deal this month. Germany, along with Italy, the US and France, has been one of the most fervent critics of Switzerland’s banking secrecy laws.

Berlin has paid for stolen data from Swiss banks to catch tax cheats and raided the German offices of Switzerland’s number two bank Credit Suisse.

Both the German and Swiss Finance Ministries dismissed as “speculation” a report that finance experts had agreed a withholding tax on German assets hidden in secret Swiss accounts that would yield €30bn for Berlin public coffers.

“Speculation about billions flowing back to the German tax authority is completely unfounded,” said ministry spokesman Michael Offer.

Talks about solving the issue of an estimated €200bn of untaxed German wealth were constructive, he added, but both parties had agreed to maintain silence about the details.

“The working group has continued to do its work. This will now go to the level of ministers,” said Swiss Finance Ministry spokeswoman Tanja Kocher.

The two countries’ finance ministers hoped to agree on the key points of a new agreement by the end of October, when Swiss finance minister Hans-Rudolf Merz will leave office.

But German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble had to be hospitalised for a month at the beginning of October, putting question marks on this time frame.

Offer said the countries were still aiming to clinch the deal by the end of October, “if possible”.