World Economy

Italy, Switzerland to Share Tax Info

Italy, Switzerland to Share Tax InfoItaly, Switzerland to Share Tax Info

Italy and Switzerland have reached a preliminary accord on tax information sharing as part of a drive to combat tax evasion, a senior Italian official said on Thursday, adding that an agreement should be signed by mid-February.

The accord would be a major step towards a wider tax deal the two countries have been negotiating since 2012, Nasdaq said in a report.

“We have an agreement, it should be signed around the middle of next month,” Vieri Ceriani, the head of Italy’s negotiating team, told reporters in Rome.

The signing of the agreement will have an immediate effect on Italian residents who decide to adhere to a tax amnesty the Italian government is launching this month.

According to the law introducing the “voluntary disclosure” program, Italians who decide to repatriate undeclared assets from Switzerland would have had to pay taxes on the money stashed in the Alpine country in the last 10 years.

With this agreement, they will now pay taxes only on the funds hidden in Swiss bank accounts in the last five years. They will also be subject to lower sanctions.

Pressure on countries to share information to limit tax evasion through secret bank accounts has grown in recent years as public finances have been strained by weak economic growth.

Last year, 51 countries signed an agreement coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to swap information automatically. Switzerland was not part of that deal but it has separately reached tax agreements recently with Britain and Austria.

Other issues still remain to be agreed for a full deal between Rome and Berne, including removing Switzerland from the Italian “black list” of countries that do not fully cooperate on tax evasion.