• Germany's news in English
 
Swiss-German tax deal falls through
Photo: DPA

Swiss-German tax deal falls through

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.

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
Löw aims for Euro 2016 with new-look Germany
Joachim Löw holding the World Cup trophy. File photo: DPA

Löw aims for Euro 2016 with new-look Germany

World Cup winners Germany have suffered something of a hangover since their triumph in Brazil, but coach Joachim Löw is hoping a new-look side can go on to claim more glory at Euro 2016. READ  

T-Mobile to pay $90 mn over US fraud charges
Photo: DPA

T-Mobile to pay $90 mn over US fraud charges

German mobile phone company T-Mobile has agreed to pay at least $90 million to settle US government claims that it bilked customers with bogus charges, US regulators said Friday. READ  

Ethics Council rejects assisted suicide law
Photo: DPA

Ethics Council rejects assisted suicide law

The German Ethics Council said the law should not be changed to permit assisted suicide in a paper published on Friday. READ  

Abandoned themepark needs 14m says Berlin
Swan Lake. An abandoned ride in the Spreewald pleasure park. Photo: DPA

Abandoned themepark needs 14m says Berlin

The iconic ruined themepark in the centre of Berlin - a long-time favourite of hipster adventurers - needs a clean-up costing at least 14 million euros, the Berlin government has revealed. READ  

Police nab Nuremberg station bomb hoaxer
File photo of Nuremberg main station: Shutterstock

Police nab Nuremberg station bomb hoaxer

Officers in Nuremberg arrested a man on Thursday evening after he called in a false bomb threat against the main train station READ  

Opinion
Angela, David...and Nigel
So near...and yet so far Photo: DPA

Angela, David...and Nigel

The rise of UKIP broke up what had been a good 2014 for Cameron and Merkel. READ  

'Dr Death' corpse museum gets go-ahead
Dr Gunther von Hagens. Photo: DPA

'Dr Death' corpse museum gets go-ahead

A Berlin court has said that infamous human taxidermist Gunther von Hagens can open a museum in the capital - over objections from local officials. READ  

Presented by Phorms Education
Phorms bilingual schools boast top-notch tech
Photo: Phorms Education

Phorms bilingual schools boast top-notch tech

As parents fret over children’s internet habits, a network of bilingual schools in Germany shows that putting computers in the classroom from an early age yields positive results. READ  

Networks scramble to patch mobile security
Chancellor Angela Merkel has herself been the victim of phone hacking. Photo: DPA

Networks scramble to patch mobile security

IT experts led by Berlin-based Karsten Nohl said on Thursday they had discovered security flaws in the mobile phone networks that would allow attackers to read users' messages. READ  

Turkish 'spies' arrested at Frankfurt airport
Photo: DPA

Turkish 'spies' arrested at Frankfurt airport

Three men suspected of being Turkish agents have been arrested by police, federal prosecutors said on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Willy Brandt at his inauguration in 1972. Photo: DPA
National
Willy Brandt: the man, the chancellor... the airport?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Sponsored Article
Shop Christmas gifts at Debenhams international store
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles through December 19th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,228
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd