ZURICH: Switzerland’s largest and wealthiest canton saw a three-fold rise in the number of tax cheats turning themselves in during 2017, Zurich officials said on Thursday, as an international accord to share information on offshore wealth takes effect. The finance department said 6,150 Zurich taxpayers came clean on previously undisclosed assets in 2017, tripling the previous record set in 2016 and helping to disclose 1.3 billion Swiss francs ($1.33 billion) in hidden wealth so far.
The authorities have been able to handle only about half the cases so far, however, so they expect the sum to rise. Under the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s new Automatic Exchange of Information program, more than 100 countries are beginning to exchange financial information amid a global clampdown on tax evasion. The agreement aims to ensure offshore accounts are known to authorities in the country where the account holder owes tax.
Switzerland, the world’s biggest center for managing offshore wealth, will get the first information from other countries this year, starting with data collected in 2017.