• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Swiss-German tax deal falls through

The Local · 13 Dec 2012, 10:24

Published: 13 Dec 2012 08:57 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Dec 2012 10:24 GMT+01:00

The agreement was scuppered on Wednesday after negotiations between the two chambers of the German parliament - the Bundestag and the Bundesrat - broke down in a parliamentary mediation committee.

The Bundestag, controlled by Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right coalition, had voted in favour of the bill, but it was blocked by the Bundesrat, where a centre-left alliance of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Greens holds sway.

The opposition threw the deal out, arguing that it was too lenient on tax evaders.

Under the terms of the agreement, which would have come into effect on January 1, Germans who have parked undeclared assets in Swiss bank accounts would have been able to regularise their holdings while retaining their anonymity.

Swiss banks would have deducted taxes from German clients and transferred the tax revenues to Berlin, allowing the clients to remain anonymous. It was meant to negate the need to buy stolen bank account data from clandestine sources, which many German regional tax offices had resorted to over the past few years.

The mediation committee passed a declaration calling on the government to begin new negotiations "for a fair tax agreement."

Bundestag MP Thomas Strobl, of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said it had been "a difficult session."

The SPD and the Green Party cast doubt on government estimates that the deal would bring in up to €10 billion of tax revenue in 2013 alone. The opposition also criticized the fact that German tax evaders would still have had the chance to get their fortunes out of Switzerland by January 1, 2013.

The Swiss legislature had already passed the agreement, and Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, President of the Swiss Confederation and head of the Finance Department, expressed regret that Germany had not ratified the deal.

She said the failure meant that "the unsatisfactory status quo with chance finds of illegally appropriated CDs" would have to be maintained for now.

Berlin and Bern have been embroiled in a spat over tax since 2010, when German authorities raided branches of Credit Suisse bank in 13 German cities after buying data on suspected tax frauds.

Story continues below…

Switzerland reacted angrily, saying the data were stolen in violation of its banking secrecy laws.

As much as €180 billion in German assets are hidden in Switzerland, according to unconfirmed media reports.

The Local/AFP/DAPD/DPA/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

10:51 December 13, 2012 by whiteriver
after all the news about Germans hiding money in Switzerland I guess anyone who could has already moved their assets out of that country. And it is good that this agreement was blocked as it is unfair with people who don't try to elude the tax office.
Today's headlines
Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
File photo: DPA

When a man swimming naked in a Bavarian lake felt a strange pain in his nether regions, he looked up to see a fisherman on the shore. "Don’t pull!" he shouted.

Study finds rival Rhineland beers 'actually taste the same'
Left: Altbier. Right: Kölsch. Or can you even tell? Photos: DPA.

Cologne and Düsseldorf have a long established rivalry, not least over who has the better home brew. So the results of a new study might be more than they can swallow.

Eastern Europe pushes Germany for joint EU army
Angela Merkel (l), Beata Szydlo and Victor Orban. Photo: DPA

Eastern EU countries on Friday pushed for the bloc to create a joint army as they met with Germany for talks on sketching Europe's post-Brexit future.

Merkel’s party mate wants to get rid of all Karl Marx streets
Karl Marx and one of the roadways in Berlin named for him. Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Nicor

Hundreds of streets are named after the founder of communism, but this conservative politician wants to give Marx the boot.

State elections
6 reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Photo: DPA

With state elections around the corner, The Local looks at the poor side of Germany's "poor but sexy" capital city.

Upstarts RB Leipzig plan to go right to top of Bundesliga
RB Leipzig players celebrate scoring against Dynamo Dresden. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig make their Bundesliga debut on Sunday, but the East German outfit, sponsored by energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull, are already far from popular in Germany's top-flight.

Poland criticizes Germany’s 'self-serving' foreign policy
Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: DPA

The Polish foreign minister has said that Germany all too often follows its own interests at the expense of its partners, as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to visit Warsaw.

Vast majority of Germans in favour of burqa ban: poll
Women wearing niqab veils in Saudi Arabia. Photo: DPA.

A survey found that the vast majority of respondents were in favour of Germany passing a ban on the full-body veil sometimes worn by Muslim women.

Czech police detain driver for harassing Merkel's motorcade
Angela Merkel. File photo: DPA

Czech police arrested a man on Thursday for attempting to drive into the motorcade of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Prague, they said.

Teacher convicted for holding kids back after class
Photo: DPA

A music teacher from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has been found guilty of "holding people against their will" after he made some naughty stay kids back after class.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,614
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd