Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Germany rejects Swiss Rubik deal...again

Also from Tax Analysts [again, gated]:
The upper house of the German parliament (Bundesrat) has again voted to reject the agreement with Switzerland aimed at taxing the undeclared assets of German taxpayers. 
This was the Rubik deal: basically, Switzerland won't share any information on individual accounts but will collect withholding taxes and pay them over. Here's a short explanation with a horrid graphic. I haven't discussed the deals much here, but it's had lots of play over on TJN [shorter and more to the point here]--it's a pretty wacky deal, really. I mean, how do you keep anyone honest in terms of withholding and paying over the "right amount" of tax if you can't pry any info from them?  From Tax Analysts:

The agreement was similar to one reached between Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It called for a one-time charge on all undeclared assets held in Switzerland as well as an ongoing withholding tax on income earned in undeclared accounts. The agreement also would have allowed German tax authorities to make a limited number of information requests that would not require the level of detail expected for standard treaty requests. 
Social Democratic Party lawmakers have long objected to the agreement, saying it was too lenient and that tax evaders should not be allowed to remain anonymous.
I take it that the deal was little more than an end run around the European Savings Directive. Certainly with Switzerland talking FATCA with the US it's hard to imagine any country in Europe settling for Rubik's weak tea.

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