Italy and Switzerland agree to end bank secrecy

(AGI) Milan, Feb 23 - Italy and Switzerland signed an agreementon Monday that puts an end to the latter's banking secrecy.Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan and his Swiss counterpart,Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, signed the historic agreement in Milanafter three years of negotiations. The protocol provides forthe exchange of information between the two countries, whichwill be automatic from 2017, while Switzerland can come off theblacklist of countries considered tax havens. A road map on thetaxation of cross-border workers and the issue of theMunicipality of Campione was also signed. The Protocol amendsthe Convention of

(AGI) Milan, Feb 23 - Italy and Switzerland signed an agreementon Monday that puts an end to the latter's banking secrecy.Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan and his Swiss counterpart,Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, signed the historic agreement in Milanafter three years of negotiations. The protocol provides forthe exchange of information between the two countries, whichwill be automatic from 2017, while Switzerland can come off theblacklist of countries considered tax havens. A road map on thetaxation of cross-border workers and the issue of theMunicipality of Campione was also signed. The Protocol amendsthe Convention of 1976, and lays the basis for strengtheningcooperation between the two countries, addressing the problemof tax evasion and avoidance. The Italian tax authorities cannow request information from Switzerland, which will lead tothe regularisation of capital held illegally. Taxpayers will beable to clear up irregularities by paying all taxes due, asrequired by the law on voluntary disclosure and takingadvantage of a more reasonable penalty system. As for the roadmap, this outlines the path for the revision of agreements onfrontier workers, replacing the current one signed in 1974. Thenew agreement expects reciprocity for the Swiss border, whilethe taxes paid will be divided between the two states, with amaximum of 70% of the taxes due to the country where the worktakes place. The overall tax burden of Italian frontier workerswill remain unchanged to begin with but will then gradually beincreased to the level of other taxpayers. Finally, the roadmap provides for the identification for best practice solutionsfor the Municipality of Campione, an Italian enclave surroundedby Switzerland. The issue of market access for financialservice providers, of interest for Switzerland, is not part ofthe agreement. "There will be further talks," said MinisterPadoan. "It is a subject on which we need to make progress.We're working on it," he added. Swiss finance minister,Widmer-Schlumpf, also commented on the agreement: "Today is animportant day for the bilateral relations between Italy andSwitzerland. Despite the differences of past years we have nowcome closer. Bilateral relations will benefit from a newimpetus and confidence." . .