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Swiss Bankers Approach France To Boost Amnesty Uptake

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

12 May 2014

The President of the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA), Patrick Odier, has called on France to extend and enhance its tax regularization facility to allow more taxpayers to make a voluntary declaration to normalize their affairs.

Odier told L'Agefi that the procedure is the best solution for Switzerland and France, as it prevents the transfer of undisclosed assets from Swiss banks to deregulated jurisdictions. It is therefore in both nations' interest to make the program more attractive, he said.

At the moment the program is unattractive for many clients as it is too costly, complicated, and lacking in legal certainty, Odier explained. He said the SBA would seek to launch discussions with French tax authorities to improve what is on offer. Changes must be implemented swiftly, however, as Switzerland has agreed to apply automatic exchange of information (AEI) in two to three years' time, he said. Swiss banking clients will soon have to decide whether to regularize or relocate their untaxed assets, he explained.

France set out the conditions for its tax regularization program in a June 2013 circular. The penalty rates are lowered for voluntary declarations of non-tax compliance, from 40 percent (imposed in the event of a non-declaration) to 30 percent for so-called "active" fraudsters, and to 15 percent for "passive" offenders, including for example heirs with unreported assets located abroad. Meanwhile, the annual proportional fine levied in the case of the non-reporting is capped at 3 percent of the value of assets for cases of 'active' tax evasion and at 1.5 percent for 'passive' tax evasion cases. These concessionary penalty rates are conditional on the taxpayer settling the outstanding tax due in full.

TAGS: compliance | tax | tax compliance | tax avoidance | interest | tax rates | France | Switzerland | tax breaks | penalties | individual income tax | Tax | Tax Evasion

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