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Switzerland freezes accounts of German customers

The recently completed tax treaty between Switzerland and Germany has the following key points:

  • Swiss banks make a 2bn SFR guarantee payment to the German tax authorities.
  • Income of German assets in Switzerland will be taxed in future on-site with 26,325%.

    Swiss banks will transfer these tax amounts directly to the German tax authorities.
  • For income of so-called historic assets taxes between 19-34% are due - according to amounts and durance period.

    When transferring these retro-taxes, Swiss banks protect the anonymity of their customers.

    Germany can expect here tax revenues of up to 20bn Euro.

Germans with Swiss account, who were "oblivious" towards their tax authority at home, now seem to sit in a kind of trap - which is a unique event in the Alpine Republic: Swiss banks want or need to limit customer's powers on his own accounts, if he wants to withdraw his funds - e.g. to relocate them to Singapore or Hong Kong; at least in the amount of the upper 34% limit. The reason for this is logical and understandable: According to the new tax treaty, the bank is liable for the payments of withholding tax as well as "black money tax" - and not the account holder.

How much money did the Germans stash away in Switzerland, really?

Official data on black money balances do not exist. Estimates range over a span of 130-280bn Euros of illegally injected funds. How strong the German tax authorities really benefits at the end, is thus still unclear.

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