Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland seek to avoid tax blacklisting
The Swiss and Austrian finance ministers said Sunday in Luxembourg that they wanted to avoid being included on an international blacklist for their strict banking secrecy rules, ahead of a meeting with their counterpart from Luxembourg, dpa reported.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is currently preparing a list of tax havens to be discussed by the G20 group of leading industrial and developing countries.
Swiss Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz said the three countries would seek to develop common goals.
"Preventing a blacklist is one of these goals," Austrian press agency APA quoted him as saying before he met his colleagues Josef Proell from Austria and Luc Frieden from Luxembourg.
Proell said that while the countries meeting in Luxembourg were ready to start discussions with the European Union about increased cooperation with tax authorities, they would maintain their banking secrecy rules.
EU governments are bound to share tax information about savings held by EU citizens in different member states.
But Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg have obtained exemptions allowing them instead to withhold taxes applied on interest earnings from accounts that are held by foreigners.