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02 December 2015

European Parliament: Ending EU citizens' bank secrecy in Liechtenstein

An EU deal with Liechtenstein, which will make it harder for EU citizens to hide cash from the tax man in bank accounts there, was endorsed by Parliament.

Under the deal, the EU and Liechtenstein will automatically exchange information on the bank accounts of each other's residents, starting in 2018.

The EU and Liechtenstein agreed in October 2015 to clamp down on tax fraud and tax evasion. The information to be exchanged includes not only income, such as interest and dividends, but also account balances and proceeds from the sale of financial assets.

The agreement, approved by 561 votes to 49, with 30 abstentions, ensures that Liechtenstein will apply stricter measures, equivalent to those in place within the EU since March 2014. The agreement also complies with the 2014 global standard on the automatic exchange of financial account information promoted by the OECD.

Tax administrations in EU member states and in Liechtenstein will be able to:

  • identify correctly and unequivocally the taxpayers concerned,
  • administer and enforce their tax laws in cross-border situations,
  • assess the likelihood of tax evasion being perpetrated, and
  • avoid unnecessary further investigations.

The agreement will enter into force on 1 January 2016.

Full press release

© European Parliament

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