Tax deal with Switzerland

Austria News Brief: May 2012

On Friday 13 April, Austria clinched a deal with Switzerland that will see Austrians’ secret accounts in the country taxed from 2013, Reuters reported.

The agreement came as a relief to Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter, who had been criticised for pre-maturely including a €1 billion tax windfall from Swiss accounts in the government’s savings plan, aimed at balancing the state budget by 2016.

Under the deal, Austrians’ existing funds in Switzerland will be taxed once at 15–38%, depending on the amount, and 25% will be levied on future gains from investments, in line with Austrian capital gains tax, whereas there will be no inheritance tax.

The agreement was reached surprisingly quickly because its terms were more lenient to Switzerland than the deals nailed by the U.K. and Germany, with the German parliament rejecting the first proposal and insisting on tax rates between 21% and 41% and upfront payments of CHF 2 billion (€1.7 billion).

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