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Swiss banking secrecy nears end following new tax rules

Swiss banking secrecy nears end following new tax rules

BASEL: Switzerland’s reputation as a secretive tax haven looks set to end following the introduction of rules over sharing bank account data.

The International Convention on the Automatic Exchange of Banking Information (AEOI) entered into force on January 1, pulling Switzerland in to line with international standards on taxation.

The convention, developed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the global financial industry, states that financial information on Swiss bank accounts held by citizens of certain countries will in future be shared annually and on an automatic basis.

In the past, Switzerland would only provide banking information if requested by a limited number of countries and even then, full co-operation was not guaranteed. The regime came under international pressure in 2008 after the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) probed a multi-billion dollar tax evasion case involving the Swiss bank, UBS.

According to the Swiss State Secretariat for International Financial Matters, Switzerland will now start collecting data on 1 January 2017 and exchange it for the first time in 2018.