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The government is expecting 6 billion euro from taxes on Swiss bank accounts

02 September 2012 / 11:09:29  GRReporter
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The contract between Greece and Switzerland on the taxation of "secret" accounts is expected to be signed in September, under the model of the already signed such agreements with Germany, the United Kingdom and Austria.

The exact amount of deposits found in Swiss banks is not known. The majority of this capital, however, is characterized as "dirty money" because it is derived from activities related to the informal economy. According to the German newspaper "Der Spiegel", Greeks have deposits in Swiss bank amounted to about 20 billion euro, as 99% of them are not declared and taxed.

If these undeclared taxes are levied by a factor of 20-30%, the Greek treasury will automatically gain between 4 and 6 million euro. Greek Deputy Finance Minister George Mavraganis will discuss the final details of the contract in two days with the chairman of the Union of Swiss banks Patrick Odier and his Swiss counterpart Michael Ambuehl in Bern.

Swiss banks will contact their Greek depositors and will invite them to comply with the contract and their capital to be levied, with the assurance that their anonymity would not be affected. Greek major depositors have two choices in the taxation of these accounts. They can remain anonymous and be levied retroactively by a tax from 20 to 30%, as the tax will be collected by the Swiss authorities and will be submitted to the Greek ones. The other option is to disclose their data and to be subject to examination by tax authorities. If they cannot prove the origin of the money, they will be levied by a tax which can reach 45%. If it is proved that the money comes from the legalization of income from illegal activities (i.e. laundering of capital), they will be subject to prosecution. The contract will include clauses pertaining to future deposits as well as the provision of information.

"Der Spiegel" notes, however, that even if the contract is signed, there are at least 15 ways in which these investors can get away with, using the banks' help, as for example transferring their accounts to branches in Singapore and Hong Kong, through the formation of public limited companies. So, it is uncertain whether not paying taxes to the Greek state can be overcome.

Tags: Greece Switzerland banks secret accounts taxation
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