UK and Switzerland in offshore tax talks

Hans-Rudolf Merz

Swiss finance minister Hans-Rudolf Merz and George Osborne are meeting to
sign a declaration to begin talks on unresolved tax issues between the two

The agreement is expected to include the issue of any untaxed money British
citizens hold in banks in Switzerland.

However, tax advisers say that there has been no discussion of the matter of
Swiss residents who have hidden money through vehicles governed by the law of
the UK and its crown dependencies.

Andreas Kolb, partner in the Switzerland office at international law firm
Eversheds, said: “It is somewhat surprising that the United Kingdom is the first
country with which Switzerland has signed a basic agreement on dealing with
untaxed money, especially given that the UK’s Channel Islands are known the
world over for the legal possibilities they offer in terms of concealing money
via trusts.

“These constructions are often much more confidential than the famed Swiss
bank secrecy.”

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