Switzerland regrets Germany's "No" to signing of withholding tax agreement

Bern, 12.12.2012 - The German parliament has not ratified the withholding tax agreement which the German federal government signed with Switzerland. The two withholding tax agreements already approved with the United Kingdom and Austria will enter into force on 1 January 2013. The agreements solve the problem of untaxed funds from these countries in Switzerland. Concerning Germany, the current situation will persist regarding tax matters.

"We regret that Germany has not ratified the withholding tax agreement signed between Switzerland and Germany", said the President of the Swiss Confederation Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf after Germany's decision.

Concerning Germany, what remains after the "No" is the less than satisfactory status quo with chance finds on CDs which have been acquired illegally and administrative assistance upon request according to the international standard. Furthermore, with each passing year without an agreement, a considerable proportion of the outstanding tax amounts will be subject to the statute of limitations.

Switzerland will bring the withholding tax agreements with the United Kingdom and Austria into force on 1 January 2013. In this way, it will be shown that the agreements can be duly implemented in practice and that actual tax money will be transferred. Negotiations on similar agreements are under way with Greece and Italy. Other countries both within and outside Europe have also shown an interest. The withholding tax model efficiently ensures that no untaxed foreign money can be hidden in Switzerland. It is an alternative to the automatic exchange of information.

Address for enquiries

Mario Tuor, Communications, State Secretariat for International Financial Matters SIF,
tel. +41 31 322 46 16,


Federal Department of Finance